Wisconsin is notorious its cold winters and unpredictable driving conditions. While most drivers are familiar with the obligations that come with winter driving, not everyone makes good decisions when at the wheel. Bad driving decisions all too often lead to preventable collisions.
Drivers need to not only obey the posted speed limit on a road but should also reduce their speed to reflect the severe weather. When there’s snow, ice, slush or frost on the road, leaving for work earlier and driving slower can help you make it to your job without a crash. That way, you don’t have to speed to get there on time.
Speeding is one of the most persistent safety issues on modern roads. Regardless of weather conditions, some people will always try to travel slightly faster than the posted speed limit. Unfortunately, as dangerous as speeding is during the rest of the year, it is even riskier during the Wisconsin winter months.
Speeding plays a significant role in winter crash fatalities
The worse the road conditions are, the slower you need to drive in order to maintain appropriate control of your vehicle. Reducing your speed by 10 or even 20 miles per hour may be necessary when temperatures are low, road surfaces are slick or winds are strong.
Despite knowing that the winter brings inclement weather, there are always drivers who want to act like a winter storm has no effect on their safety whatsoever. According to data from the National Safety Council, speed is one of the biggest causes of fatal crashes in bad weather conditions. In 2018, 41% of fatal crashes with ice or snow involved at least one car driving too fast.
The same was true of 37% of fatal crashes with snow or slush on the road. Even when the road is just wet, excess speed causes 19% of all traffic fatalities. As the weather worsens, the percentage of speed-related deaths goes up too.
Bad driving decisions may constitute negligence in some cases
Most police officers that respond to traffic collisions are fully aware of the strong correlation between excessive speed and major crashes. They will likely look closely at the scene of the wreck to try to determine if speeding by either driver contributed to the collision. If there are signs of speeding, the driver going too fast for road conditions will likely receive a citation or at least an allocation of fault in the police report.
If you can show that the other driver made decisions that people would find irresponsible for the situation, then the scenario might meet the necessary criteria for a negligence claim. In other words, you may have grounds to file a civil lawsuit if the other driver doesn’t have enough insurance after causing a crash by speeding in winter weather.