Wisconsin State Patrol February Law of the Month reminds drivers to observe speed limits and drive for conditions

Winter is a good time to check your speed. Excessive speed is one of the top factors of traffic-related crashes, injuries and deaths in Wisconsin. In addition, the majority of speed-related crashes occur in the winter months.

“Our message to drivers is simple – buckle up, phone down, slow down,” Wisconsin State Patrol Superintendent Anthony Burrell said. “We want everyone to reach their destinations safely.”

Preliminary data for 2020 shows that overall speed related crashes were down 27% compared with 2019, but fatalities increased 18% and serious injuries increased 6%.

“At higher speeds, you’re at greater risk of a crash. In addition, the violence of a crash become more severe as speeds increase,” Superintendent Burrell said. “Drivers who disregard speed laws and limits endanger everyone along our roadways.”

Snow means slow

When it comes to safe winter driving, drivers should:

  • Slow down
  • Allow extra following distance
  • Allow extra time to reach your destination
  • Avoid sudden braking or steering

Preliminary data for 2020 shows there were 12,418 crashes on snow/ice-covered roads resulting in injuries to 2,054 people and 29 fatalities. 
Posted speed limits apply when travel conditions are ideal. State law requires drivers to adjust their speed to what is “reasonable and prudent” based on specific driving conditions including weather and traffic volumes.

“Virtually every day, we see the tragic outcomes associated with excessive speed,” Superintendent Burrell said. “What’s most tragic is such incidents are totally preventable by just slowing down.”

For more information, contact:

WisDOT Office of Public Affairs
(608) 266-3581, opa.exec@dot.wi.gov