I hope that everyone is enjoying their summer season, and all of the activities and events which are occurring almost every weekend in Kewaunee County. It is always enjoyable for me to see the influx of people into our communities, and the pleasure they get from experiencing our quality of life that we sometimes take for granted.
While all of this activity and added traffic is great for our local economy, anytime you put more people or vehicles into a given area the anxiety level usually increases as well. One of the common violations we tend to see during the busy season is related to vehicle right of ways.
In short “Right of Way” refers to the vehicle that is operating on the roadway without controls such as stop sign, yield sign. It is also the vehicle operating on the main roadway in contrast to a vehicle pulling out of a driveway or away from a stop sign controlled intersection.
What usually happens is that a vehicle is waiting at a stop sign for traffic to clear, but due to the increased number of cars, becomes impatient and pulls out into traffic with little or no warning for the other vehicles. Another scenario is multiple vehicles traveling in the same direction and the first vehicle attempts to make a right or left turn, when the vehicles behind it become impatient and pull into oncoming traffic to get around it, or take the shoulder. If this plays out in a passing zone and there is no oncoming traffic it does not pose a problem, but if this happens in a no passing zone, or there happens to be oncoming traffic the potential for a tragic accident now exists.
Whether the vehicle in front of you is traveling less than the speed limit or is in fact stopped in traffic you still have the obligation to pass this vehicle in a safe manner. There are actually two separate traffic laws which apply to these situations. The first is 346.07 “Overtaking and Passing on Left” which generally states that when you pass a vehicle you should do it in a safe manner, when in a passing zone and clear of any oncoming traffic. The second is 346.08 “When passing or overtaking on the Right Permitted”. This generally states that unless there is a paved area equivalent to the width of a traffic lane along the right shoulder of the roadway, passing is not permissible.
The bottom line is patience. No destination or itinerary is worth risking your life or the lives of others on the road. In many instances the time you saved by that reckless act of passing or speeding is mere seconds, but the results of those decisions will last a lifetime. Remember the trip is just as important as the destination. Enjoy the ride!