Right of way is often a contested issue in Wisconsin automobile accident cases. The next two posts will go straight to the Wisconsin DOT Motorists Handbook for the straight answers.

Emergency Vehicles

You must yield the right-of-way to police vehicles, fire trucks, ambulances or other emergency vehicles using a siren, air horn or a red or blue flashing light. Pull over to the right edge of the road or as near to the right as possible and stop when you see or hear an emergency vehicle approaching from any direction. Follow any instructions given over the emergency vehicle’s loudspeaker. If you are in an intersection, including a roundabout, drive through the intersection before you pull over. If the emergency vehicle using lights or siren is on the other side of a divided highway, you do not need to pull over and stop. You must not pass an emergency vehicle that is about to back into, or is backing into, the driveway entrance of a fire station. It is illegal to pass or follow within 500 feet of a moving emergency vehicle with its red or blue lights on and siren operating. This includes while driving on freeways or other limited access highways.

Move Over or Slow Down Law

When approaching law enforcement or other emergency vehicles, tow trucks, road machinery, highway construction or maintenance vehicles, public utility, telecommunication carrier or cooperative association vehicles stopped on or near a highway and using flashing warning lights, you must move into a lane not nearest the stopped vehicle and travel in that lane until you have safely passed the stopped vehicle(s). If it is unsafe to move into another lane, slow down until you have safely passed the stopped vehicle(s).


People riding animals or driving animal-drawn vehicles on a roadway have the same rights and duties as motor vehicle operators. To avoid scaring the animals, do not sound your horn near them. Slow down and keep a safe distance away while passing them. You should yield the right-of-way to livestock on or along the highway. However, the person in charge of the livestock must try to open the way for traffic. If the person in charge of the animals gives a signal of distress, you must stop or do what is necessary to avoid injury or a crash.

Funeral Processions

Only the first vehicle in a funeral procession must obey traffic signs and signals. Vehicles in the procession must have headlights on. Do not cut into or interfere with a funeral procession.

School Buses

You must stop a minimum of 20 feet from a stopped school bus with its red lights flashing. You must stop whether the school bus is on your side of the road, the opposite side of the road or at an intersection that you are approaching. After the school bus red lights have stopped flashing, watch for children along the side of the road. Do not go until they have completely left the roadway. Divided highways (roadways). Unless signs say otherwise, you are not required to stop for a school bus if you are driving in the opposite direction on a divided highway.

McCormick Law Office in Milwaukee, Wisconsin obtains car accident settlements for medical bills, wage loss, pain, suffering and disability.