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Passing vehicles add concern for drivers

You have to pick your moments when you choose to pass other vehicles on the road. The concern of passing has grown even more important in recent weeks due to more agricultural vehicles on the road, which are often traveling slower and offer more obstructions to motorists.  State statute used to allow motorists a little more wiggle room in those situations if they were in a no-passing zone, but that is no longer the case. Many motorists use passing other vehicles as an opportunity to speed up and go well above the limit. Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski says that is not the case either.

According to Driving-Tests.org, speed-related crashes cost Americans $40.4 billion every year, and over 50 percent of the five million yearly car crashes are caused by aggressive driving with the speed as the main culprit. You can read more about Joski’s thoughts about passing other vehicles on the road below.

 

FROM SHERIFF MATT JOSKI

Recently I enjoyed another great weekend with the Wisconsin National Guard, where we convoyed out to Fort McCoy for our training. Operating large vehicles in a convoy is a unique experience which I truly enjoy, and it has provided me with a different perspective in regards to the respect we show for large vehicles operating on our roadways. While I was traveling down the road, the topic for this week’s article became very clear to me as I witnessed the numerous passing maneuvers by motor vehicle drivers with either a high sense of urgency or a low sense of patience. The topic is the statute related to passing.

    

Wisconsin State Statute 346.07 “Overtaking and passing on the Left” states the following: 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 goes on to state that the driver of a motor vehicle may not drive on the left side of the center of a roadway in any portion which is marked as a no passing zone.

     

Some of the questions have been “Is it allowable to pass a vehicle as long as I start the passing maneuver in a passing zone even though I may be in a no passing zone before I return to the right lane?” The answer is no. You must be able to initiate and complete you passing maneuver in a passing zone. It is also worth mentioning that even if you are in a passing zone, but your view of oncoming traffic is obstructed you are not allowed to pass.

    

Another Question was “Is it allowable to speed in the execution of a passing maneuver?” The answer again is no. The speed of the vehicle you are overtaking must be slow enough that you are able to execute the passing maneuver without exceeding the posted speed limit.

    

A question I do get here in the county from time to time is whether or not you are allowed to pass farm equipment in a no passing zone. A few years ago, legislation did change and you are no longer allowed to pass such a unit in a no passing zone even though it may be going less than half of the posted speed limit. In any other instance, if you are following a motor vehicle which is doing less than half of the posted speed limit you may in fact pass that vehicle even in a no passing zone.

    

An interesting addition to State Statute 346.07 is that if you are the vehicle being overtaken, you are not allowed to increase your speed while being overtaken.

   

Putting yourself and your vehicle in the opposite lane of traffic is a risky maneuver at best and a fatal maneuver at worst.  Please consider this before you place yourself, as well as others on the roadway in peril due to your need to save that little bit of time. Plan ahead, Leave early, and Enjoy the ride! In regard to our Car-Deer Accident Statistics, as of Tuesday morning, we are at 217. Last year at this time we were at 257. Stay Safe out there!

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