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Louisiana’s basic speed law

Granted that Louisiana does not receive as much snow and ice as do our sister states to the north. Still, even this far south, the winter months always carry with it the possibility of icy bridges and roads, particularly early in the morning.

Moreover, winter does bring less severe conditions, such as fog and rain, to the area.

All of these conditions obviously affect one’s ability to drive and lead to serious car accidents. Ice can be hard to spot and can, obviously, throw a car in to a skid almost without warning. Rain also makes the road slick and can cause hydroplaning. Fog, precipitation and even a bright sun on the southeast horizon in the winter mornings can reduce visibility considerably.

To account for these and other unusual road conditions, such as a narrow or dangerous road or heavy traffic, Louisiana law requires all motorists to observe what is called a general speed, also called a basic speed limit.

What this means in practice is that, while drivers should never exceed the speed limit posted on the black and white signs, they also need to remember that the posted speed is the maximum in ideal road conditions. When traffic is heavy or there is wintry or other bad weather, drivers must slow down enough so as to be able to control their vehicles and operate safely.

If they fail to do this and cause an accident as a result, then a victim may be able to point to their violation of the general speed law as evidence of their negligence. In this way, a victim may be able to get compensation for his or her injuries from a careless driver.