Pavement Markings – Should You Cross that Line?

Did you know that pavement markings are not as simple as you might think? Pavement markings are used to convey many different messages to the driver, signaling which part of the road to use and where passing is allowed. Pavement markings use two primary indicators – color and line style – to relay information to the driver. 

The color of pavement markings signal to the driver if they are in the correct lane. Yellow lines indicate opposing directions of travel, so they are placed on the left side of the road. Conversely, white lines indicate the same travel direction, so they are located on the travel lane’s right-hand side.  

Line styles alert the driver if crossing into the next lane is permissible. Solid lines indicate that passing is prohibited. However, solid lines may be crossed when adjacent to a broken line, as with a passing zone or center turn lanes.

Broken lines signify permission to cross and typically are placed between multiple lanes traveling in the same direction. Short dotted lines indicate the need to increase or reduce speed, such as acceleration and deceleration lanes.

The next time you are driving, take time to look around and ask yourself the following questions:

  • What do the markings say? 
  • Am I in the correct lane?
  • Do I have permission to cross into the adjacent lane?
  • Do I need to reduce my speed?

And of course, always remember to keep between the yellow and white stripes!