Driving 101: Guidelines in Understanding Different Road Markings

Driving 101: Guidelines in Understanding Different Road Markings

If you have been driving for quite a while now, you may have already been familiar with the road indicators on the streets. You may know the rules with some but not all for sure. It’s important to have a review on these, so you would really know what it means, according to the Department of Transportation in the United States. Let’s discuss the meanings of different lanes, yellow lines, and traffic rules. Read along and be reminded of each and every meaning of these pavement markings.

Pavement Markings and What They Mean


There are two usual colors that we see on the pavement of the streets while we drive. These are white and yellow. These markings are essential as they guide cars as to whether the traffic is headed in one direction or opposite directions. The Yellow lines separate the left and right lanes which are moving in opposite directions. On the other hand, the white lines separate the traffic of the road which is moving in the same direction.

Different kinds of Yellow lines:

When you are driving on the road, make sure that you are driving on the right lane and that is the right side of the road. If you are on a road and see yellow lines in the middle of the road, then it means that these are two-way streets and traffic flows from both directions.

Single Solid Yellow Line Painted on the Left Edge / Normal Solid White Line (edge line)


If you see a solid yellow line on the left edge of the streets as you drive, then you must see a white line on your right side. This simply means that you are on a divided highway which is a one-way street. The single solid yellow line on your left side depicts the edge of the divider. While on your right side, the edge divider should be painted in a single white line. Do note that if you see a yellow line on your right, then you are driving in the wrong direction.

Normal Broken Yellow Line


If you see a road with a normal broken yellow line, then it allows you to pass both directions with care. Of course, you have to make sure not to overpass any car ahead of you if there is not enough distance. You may do so but with constant care and a bigger distance gap from other cars. The broken yellow lines are a two-direction free passing zone, so you can relax and pass other vehicles freely.

One Solid Yellow Line and One Broken Yellow Line


Although this road marking may be fewer than the other yellow lines, it is important to note what a combination of solid yellow lines and a broken yellow line means. The traffic which is parallel to the broken yellow lines allows cars to pass other vehicles with constant care. However, the traffic parallel to the yellow solid line is not allowed to do so. This is common for opposite streets that may have congested traffic on one side than the other.

Two-Solid Yellow Lines

The two normal solid yellow lines are the most basic and understandable rules of the road. These lines separate the two opposite lanes. It prohibits all cars to pass from either direction. So make sure to never drive nor pass on the left of your lane.

Two-way Center Turn Lane


In some cases, if you see a center lane that has normally broken lines and a solid yellow line on each side, this actually allows a two-way left-turn lane. This is for the purpose of doing a left-turn maneuver. The broken yellow line is painted on the inner side of this lane, while the solid yellow line is on the outside of it. However, it is important to make sure to use this lane only when you are preparing to make a left turn. The arrow painted on this road marking strictly means it is only for turning left. It doesn’t mean you can turn to the right side too.

Reversible Lanes

Reversible Lanes

The reversible lanes exist due to peak hours commuting time. The appearance of the said lane consists of a normal broken yellow double line on each side of the lane. You should not cross these lines of the reversible lane unless the signals allow you to do so. You can check and stay alert by checking the special lane-use control signals to know if you can use these lanes or not. 

The History of Yellow lines

Road markings started in the 1940s, but the white-painted road marks were used first. It was used to divide the roads in the middle. However, the birth of yellow lines happened in the 1950s. Yellow lines separate roads and were used to have a more effective road system in different cities. It was used then for road communication, highlighting certain road rules like parking, loading, waiting, and so on.

Thermoplastic Paint for Road Markings

In the current era, road designers have come up with thermoplastic paint which is conveniently useful for road markings. Thermoplastics are applied on the pavements while still hot. They are made to last longer than normal paints, and they would withstand different weather conditions. They never fade over time, no matter how many cars drive over them for several years. The thermoplastics are often pre-cut and pre-sized for a much easier application. This is to reduce the time and cost in preparation for making a road.

These are all you need to know about the representations of how yellow lines separate in the road. Although the most common colors that we see usually are white and yellow, some countries or even states use other colors for their lane pavement markings. Some colors include green, blue, and red. They have individual characteristics and rules according to their government road laws. However, don’t be misled because their meanings are just as clear and straightforward as all the other road rules. The important thing is to drive safely, drive on the correct side of the road, clearly check signals, be keen on reading traffic lights, and be familiar with all the road signs and rules, and then you’re good to go. Oh, and of course make sure to fasten your seatbelt.

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