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346.05 346.05 Vehicles to be driven on right side of roadway; exceptions.
346.05(1)(1) Upon all roadways of sufficient width the operator of a vehicle shall drive on the right half of the roadway and in the right-hand lane of a 3-lane highway, except:
346.05(1)(a) (a) When making an approach for a left turn or U-turn under circumstances in which the rules relating to left turns or U-turns require driving on the left half of the roadway; or
346.05(1)(b) (b) When overtaking and passing under circumstances in which the rules relating to overtaking and passing permit or require driving on the left half of the roadway; or
346.05(1)(c) (c) When the right half of the roadway is closed to traffic while under construction or repair; or
346.05(1)(d) (d) When overtaking and passing pedestrians, animals or obstructions on the right half of the roadway; or
346.05(1)(e) (e) When driving in a particular lane in accordance with signs or markers designating such lane for traffic moving in a particular direction or at designated speeds; or
346.05(1)(f) (f) When the roadway has been designated and posted for one-way traffic, subject, however, to the rule stated in sub. (3) relative to slow moving vehicles.
346.05(1m) (1m) Notwithstanding sub. (1), any person operating a bicycle or electric personal assistive mobility device may ride on the shoulder of a highway unless such riding is prohibited by the authority in charge of the maintenance of the highway.
346.05(2) (2) The operator of a vehicle actually engaged in constructing or maintaining the highway may operate on the left-hand side of the highway; however, whenever such operation takes place during the hours of darkness the vehicle shall be lighted as required by s. 347.23.
346.05(3) (3) Any vehicle proceeding upon a roadway at less than the normal speed of traffic at the time and place and under the conditions then existing shall be driven in the right-hand lane then available for traffic, or as close as practicable to the right-hand edge or curb of the roadway, except when overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction or when preparing for a left turn or U-turn at an intersection or a left turn into a private road or driveway, and except as provided in s. 346.072.
346.05 History History: 1995 a. 138; 2001 a. 15, 90; 2009 a. 97.
346.05 Cross-reference Cross-reference: See s. 346.59 for minimum speed regulation and duty of slow drivers.
346.05 Annotation The defendant was driving on the wrong side of the road under this section when he momentarily crossed the center of the road. State v. Popke, 2009 WI 37, 317 Wis. 2d 118, 765 N.W.2d 569, 08-0446.
346.06 346.06 Meeting of vehicles. Operators of vehicles proceeding in opposite directions shall pass each other to the right, and upon roadways having width for not more than one line of traffic in each direction each operator shall give to the other at least one-half of the main traveled portion of the roadway as nearly as possible.
346.07 346.07 Overtaking and passing on the left. The following rules govern the overtaking and passing of vehicles proceeding in the same direction, subject to those limitations, exceptions and special rules stated in ss. 346.075 (2) and 346.08 to 346.11:
346.07(2) (2) The operator of a vehicle overtaking another vehicle proceeding in the same direction shall pass to the left thereof at a safe distance and shall not again drive to the right side of the roadway until safely clear of the overtaken vehicle.
346.07(3) (3) Except when overtaking and passing on the right is permitted, the operator of an overtaken vehicle shall give way to the right in favor of the overtaking vehicle on audible signal and shall not increase the speed of the vehicle until completely passed by the overtaking vehicle.
346.07 History History: 1971 c. 208; 1985 a. 301 s. 4; 1991 a. 316; 1997 a. 32.
346.072 346.072 Passing stopped emergency vehicles, tow trucks and highway machinery equipment.
346.072(1) (1) If an authorized emergency vehicle giving visual signal, a tow truck flashing red lamps, as required by s. 347.26 (6) (b), or any road machinery or motor vehicle used in highway construction or maintenance displaying the lights specified in s. 347.23 (1) (a) or (b) or, with respect to a motor vehicle, displaying the lights specified in s. 347.26 (7), is parked or standing on or within 12 feet of a roadway, the operator of a motor vehicle approaching such vehicle or machinery shall proceed with due regard for all other traffic and shall do either of the following:
346.072(1)(a) (a) Move the motor vehicle into a lane that is not the lane nearest the parked or standing vehicle or machinery and continue traveling in that lane until safely clear of the vehicle or machinery. This paragraph applies only if the roadway has at least two lanes for traffic proceeding in the direction of the approaching motor vehicle and if the approaching motor vehicle may change lanes safely and without interfering with any vehicular traffic.
346.072(1)(b) (b) Slow the motor vehicle, maintaining a safe speed for traffic conditions, and operate the motor vehicle at a reduced speed until completely past the vehicle or machinery. This paragraph applies only if the roadway has only one lane for traffic proceeding in the direction of the approaching motor vehicle or if the approaching motor vehicle may not change lanes safely and without interfering with any vehicular traffic.
346.072(2) (2) In addition to any penalty imposed under s. 346.17 (2), any person violating this section shall have his or her operating privilege suspended as provided in s. 343.30 (1o).
346.072 History History: 2001 a. 15.
346.075 346.075 Overtaking and passing bicycles, electric personal assistive mobility devices, and motor buses.
346.075(1)(1) The operator of a motor vehicle overtaking a bicycle or electric personal assistive mobility device proceeding in the same direction shall exercise due care, leaving a safe distance, but in no case less than 3 feet clearance when passing the bicycle or electric personal assistive mobility device, and shall maintain clearance until safely past the overtaken bicycle or electric personal assistive mobility device.
346.075(2) (2) Except as provided in s. 346.48, if the operator of a motor vehicle overtakes a motor bus which is stopped at an intersection on the right side of the roadway and is receiving or discharging passengers, the operator shall pass at a safe distance to the left of the motor bus and shall not turn to the right in front of the motor bus at that intersection.
346.075 History History: 1973 c. 182; 1977 c. 208; 1985 a. 301; 2001 a. 90.
346.08 346.08 When overtaking and passing on the right permitted. The operator of a vehicle may overtake and pass another vehicle upon the right only under conditions permitting the movement in safety and only if the operator can do so while remaining on either the roadway or a paved shoulder, and then only under the following conditions:
346.08(1) (1) When the vehicle overtaken is making or about to make a left turn or U-turn; or
346.08(2) (2) Upon a street or highway with unobstructed pavement of sufficient width to enable 2 or more lines of vehicles lawfully to proceed, at the same time, in the direction in which the passing vehicle is proceeding; or
346.08(3) (3) Upon a one-way street or divided highway with unobstructed pavement of sufficient width to enable 2 or more lines of vehicles lawfully to proceed in the same direction at the same time.
346.08 History History: 1991 a. 316; 2009 a. 97.
346.09 346.09 Limitations on overtaking on left or driving on left side of roadway.
346.09(1) (1) Upon any roadway where traffic is permitted to move in both directions simultaneously, the operator of a vehicle shall not drive to the left side of the center of the roadway in overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction unless such left side is clearly visible and is free of oncoming traffic for a sufficient distance ahead to permit such overtaking and passing to be done in safety. In no case when overtaking and passing on a roadway divided into 4 or more clearly indicated lanes shall the operator of a vehicle drive to the left of the pavement marking indicating allocation of lanes to vehicles moving in the opposite direction or, in the absence of such marking, to the left of the center of the roadway. Except as provided in sub. (3) (b), in no case shall the operator of a vehicle drive in a lane when signs or signals indicate that such lane is allocated exclusively to vehicles moving in the opposite direction.
346.09(2) (2) Upon any roadway where traffic is permitted to move in both directions simultaneously, the operator of a vehicle shall not drive on the left side of the center of the roadway upon any part of a grade or upon a curve in the roadway where the operator's view is obstructed for such a distance as to create a hazard in the event another vehicle might approach from the opposite direction.
346.09(3) (3)
346.09(3)(a)(a) Except as provided in par. (b), the operator of a vehicle shall not drive on the left side of the center of a roadway on any portion thereof which has been designated a no-passing zone, either by signs or by a yellow unbroken line on the pavement on the right-hand side of and adjacent to the center line of the roadway, provided such signs or lines would be clearly visible to an ordinarily observant person.
346.09(3)(b) (b) The operator of a vehicle may drive on the left side of the center of a roadway on any portion thereof which has been designated a no-passing zone, as described in par. (a), to overtake and pass, with care, any vehicle traveling at a speed less than half of the applicable speed limit at the place of passing.
346.09(4) (4) Other provisions of this section notwithstanding, the operator of a vehicle may not overtake and pass on the left any other vehicle which, by means of signals as required by s. 346.34 (1), indicates its intention to make a left turn or U-turn.
346.09 History History: 2009 a. 97; 2011 a. 73.
346.10 346.10 When passing at a railroad crossing, intersection, bridge, viaduct or tunnel prohibited.
346.10(1) (1) The operator of a vehicle shall not overtake and pass any other vehicle proceeding in the same direction when approaching within 100 feet of or traversing any railroad crossing unless the roadway is of sufficient width for 2 or more lines of vehicles to lawfully proceed simultaneously in the direction in which such vehicle is proceeding or unless permitted or directed by a traffic officer to pass at such crossing.
346.10(2) (2) Subject to the exception stated in sub. (3), the operator of a vehicle shall not overtake and pass any other vehicle proceeding in the same direction when approaching within 100 feet of or traversing any intersection unless the roadway is marked or posted for 2 or more lines of vehicles moving simultaneously in the direction in which such vehicle is proceeding or unless permitted or directed by a traffic officer to pass at such intersection.
346.10(3) (3) Outside of a business or residence district, the restrictions which sub. (2) places upon passing at an intersection apply only if such intersection is designated in the direction of travel by a traffic control signal, stop sign, yield sign or sign that warns traffic of existing or potentially hazardous conditions on or adjacent to the roadway.
346.10(4) (4) The operator of a vehicle shall not overtake and pass any other vehicle proceeding in the same direction when the view is obstructed upon approaching within 100 feet of any bridge, viaduct or tunnel unless the roadway is of sufficient width for 2 or more lines of vehicles to lawfully proceed simultaneously in the direction in which such vehicle is proceeding or unless permitted or directed by a traffic officer to so overtake and pass.
346.10 History History: 1989 a. 105; 1999 a. 80.
346.11 346.11 Passing or meeting frightened animal. Whenever a person riding, driving or leading an animal which is frightened gives a signal of distress to the operator of a motor vehicle by a raising of the hand or otherwise, the operator of the motor vehicle shall promptly stop the vehicle unless a movement forward is necessary to avoid an accident or injury and shall, upon request, stop all motive power until such animal is under control.
346.11 History History: 1991 a. 316.
346.12 346.12 Driving through safety zones prohibited. The operator of a vehicle shall not at any time drive through or over a safety zone when such safety zone is clearly indicated.
346.13 346.13 Driving on roadways laned for traffic. Whenever any roadway has been divided into 2 or more clearly indicated lanes, including those roadways divided into lanes by clearly indicated longitudinal joints, the following rules, in addition to all others consistent with this section, apply:
346.13(1) (1) The operator of a vehicle shall drive as nearly as practicable entirely within a single lane and shall not deviate from the traffic lane in which the operator is driving without first ascertaining that such movement can be made with safety to other vehicles approaching from the rear.
346.13(2) (2) Upon a 2-way roadway which is divided into 3 lanes the operator of a vehicle may not drive in the center lane except when overtaking and passing another vehicle where the roadway is clearly visible and the center lane is clear of traffic within a safe distance, or in preparation for a left turn or U-turn, or where the center lane is at the time allocated exclusively to traffic moving in the direction the vehicle is proceeding and is marked or posted to give notice of the allocation.
346.13(3) (3) Notwithstanding sub. (2), when lanes have been marked or posted for traffic moving in a particular direction or at designated speeds, the operator of a vehicle shall drive in the lane designated.
346.13 History History: 1991 a. 316; 2009 a. 97.
346.13 Annotation In calculating the time required to safely execute deviation from traffic lane or turn at intersection driver must consider condition of highway. Thompson v. Howe, 77 Wis. 2d 441, 253 N.W.2d 59 (1977).
346.14 346.14 Distance between vehicles.
346.14(1) (1) The operator of a motor vehicle shall not follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having due regard for the speed of such vehicle and the traffic upon and the condition of the highway.
346.14(2) (2)
346.14(2)(a)(a) Upon a highway outside a business or residence district, the operator of any motor truck with a gross weight of more than 10,000 pounds or of any motor vehicle which is drawing or towing another vehicle where the combined gross weight is more than 10,000 pounds shall do all of the following:
346.14(2)(a)1. 1. Keep the vehicle he or she is operating at a distance of not less than 500 feet to the rear of any vehicle immediately preceding it, being driven in the same direction.
346.14(2)(a)2. 2. Leave sufficient space so that an overtaking vehicle may enter and occupy such space without danger.
346.14(2)(b) (b) This subsection does not apply upon any lane especially designated for use by motor trucks or by truck tractor-semitrailer or tractor-trailer units nor does it apply when overtaking and passing another vehicle, but the fact that the operator of any vehicle or combination of vehicles mentioned in this subsection follows the preceding vehicle more closely than 500 feet for one mile or more or follows more closely than 500 feet when the preceding vehicle is moving at the maximum speed then and there permissible for such following vehicle is prima facie evidence that the operator of such following vehicle is violating this subsection.
346.14 History History: 1987 a. 27; 1989 a. 105.
346.14 Annotation Sub. (1) not only imposes a duty upon a tailgating driver to the driver of the preceding vehicle, but to all other cars and persons who are causally affected by the negligence of tailgating. Northland Insurance Co. v. Avis Rent-A-Car, 62 Wis. 2d 643, 215 N.W.2d 439 (1974).
346.14 Annotation This section does not impose an absolute liability upon drivers to avoid accidents. Millonig v. Bakken, 112 Wis. 2d 445, 334 N.W.2d 80 (1983).
346.15 346.15 Driving on divided highway. Whenever any highway has been divided into 2 roadways by an intervening unpaved or otherwise clearly indicated dividing space or by a physical barrier constructed to substantially impede crossing by vehicular traffic, the operator of a vehicle shall drive only to the right of the space or barrier and no operator of a vehicle shall drive over, across, or within the space or barrier except through an opening or at a crossover or intersection established by the authority in charge of the maintenance of the highway, except that the operator of a vehicle when making a left turn to or from a private driveway, alley, or highway or making a U-turn may drive across a paved dividing space or a physical barrier not constructed to impede crossing by vehicular traffic, unless the crossing is prohibited by signs erected by the authority in charge of the maintenance of the highway.
346.15 History History: 2009 a. 97.
346.16 346.16 Use of controlled-access highways, expressways and freeways.
346.16(1)(1) No person shall drive a vehicle onto or from a controlled-access highway, expressway or freeway except through an opening provided for that purpose.
346.16(2) (2)
346.16(2)(a)(a) Except as provided in par. (b), no pedestrian or person riding a bicycle or other nonmotorized vehicle and no person operating a moped or motor bicycle may go upon any expressway or freeway when official signs have been erected prohibiting such person from using the expressway or freeway.
346.16(2)(am) (am) Notwithstanding s. 349.105 and except as provided in par. (b), no person riding an electric personal assistive mobility device may go upon any expressway or freeway when official signs have been erected prohibiting persons specified in par. (a) from using the expressway or freeway.
346.16(2)(ar) (ar) Notwithstanding s. 349.105, no person operating an off-road utility vehicle or a lightweight utility vehicle, as defined in s. 346.94 (21) (a) 2., may go upon any expressway or freeway when official signs have been erected prohibiting persons specified in par. (a) from using the expressway or freeway, except that a lightweight utility vehicle may cross such an expressway or freeway.
346.16(2)(b) (b) A pedestrian or other person under par. (a) or (am) may go upon a portion of a hiking trail, cross-country ski trail, bridle trail or bicycle trail incorporated into the highway right-of-way and crossing the highway if the portion of the trail is constructed under s. 84.06 (11).
346.16 Cross-reference Cross-reference: See s. 59.84 (2) (j) for additional restrictions on the use of expressways in Milwaukee County.
346.17 346.17 Penalty for violating sections 346.04 to 346.16.
346.17(1)(1) Except as provided in sub. (5), any person violating s. 346.04 (1) or (2), 346.06, 346.12 or 346.13 (1) or (3) may be required to forfeit not less than $20 nor more than $40 for the first offense and not less than $50 nor more than $100 for the 2nd or subsequent conviction within a year.
346.17(2) (2) Any person violating ss. 346.05, 346.07 (2) or (3), 346.072, 346.08, 346.09, 346.10 (2) to (4), 346.11, 346.13 (2) or 346.14 to 346.16 may be required to forfeit not less than $30 nor more than $300.
346.17(2m) (2m) Any person violating s. 346.10 (1) shall forfeit not less than $60 nor more than $600.
346.17(2t) (2t) Any person violating s. 346.04 (2t) may be fined not more than $10,000 or imprisoned for not more than 9 months or both.
346.17(3) (3)
346.17(3)(a)(a) Except as provided in par. (b), (c) or (d), any person violating s. 346.04 (3) is guilty of a Class I felony.
346.17(3)(b) (b) If the violation results in bodily harm, as defined in s. 939.22 (4), to another, or causes damage to the property of another, as defined in s. 939.22 (28), the person is guilty of a Class H felony.
346.17(3)(c) (c) If the violation results in great bodily harm, as defined in s. 939.22 (14), to another, the person is guilty of a Class F felony.
346.17(3)(d) (d) If the violation results in the death of another, the person is guilty of a Class E felony.
346.17(4) (4) Any person violating s. 346.075 may be required to forfeit not less than $25 nor more than $200 for the first offense and not less than $50 nor more than $500 for the 2nd or subsequent violation within 4 years.
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2011-12 Wisconsin Statutes updated though 2013 Wis. Act 200 and all Supreme Court Orders entered before April 18, 2014. Published and certified under s. 35.18. Changes effective after April 18, 2014 are designated by NOTES. (Published 4-18-14)