Road Markings 1


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Road Markings 1

  1. 1. What Are Those Road Markings? During my lessons, I am often quite surprised by the total lack of knowledge from both Driver Ed class grads, and from those who already HAVE a license (we also do defensive and court-mandated classes for drivers), regarding roadway markings and their meanings. So, here’s a primer on those yellow, white, red and green paint marks on the road. We’ll take them by color. (for more detailed info, please go to: )YELLOW – most commonly used to separate traffic going in opposite directions, and in theUSA, should ALWAYS be on your left. If a yellow line is on your RIGHT, you are A) going thewrong way on a one-way road, B) going ON an EXIT ramp, C) INSIDE of a “shared left turn”lane, D) using a reversible (rush-hour) lane. Copyright, GAM Consulting, 2013
  2. 2. Symbolically, in Traffic Engineering, the color YELLOW is used to indicate a warning.Yellow road markings are used to alert a driver of a potential danger, such as oncomingtraffic, obstacles, and left-edge of lanes and roadways (one-way streets and ramps). In the picture to the left, the yellow lines indicate a “shared left-turn” lane, where traffic from either direction may enter, and wait for a break in traffic, before making a left turn. The SOLID yellow lines on the outside of the lane indicate traffic in opposite directions, while the BROKEN yellow lines inside the lane indicate permission to exit for a left turn. In many states, drivers may also enter this lane from a side road intersection to await a break in traffic for merging RIGHT into traffic. This helps traffic flow by allowing a driver to enter the roadway without needing to wait for a break in traffic in BOTH directions at the same time. Copyright, GAM Consulting, 2013
  3. 3. Notice that, in the picture above, there are FOUR solid yellow lines. This formation iscalled a “double-double” yellow, and is used to represent a wall or divider, without theneeded cost of a physical barrier. It is forbidden to cross these double-double lines for anyreason. The optional diagonal “zebra-stripe” markings indicate a “safety zone”, which isalso forbidden for a motorist to enter or cross. Similarly, the double-double and zebra-striping are often used in the middle of the roadway to indicate an obstacle, usually permanent, with a safety zone surrounding it. This warns motorists early, to avoid passing or driving left-of-center. Copyright, GAM Consulting, 2013
  4. 4. Double yellow lines, and double-double ones, may or may not, converge near anintersection and a “left-turn-only” lane. If they converge it is called a closed-throatdesign, if not, it is called an open-throat design. The differences are important to amotorist. The picture to the left shows an OPEN THROAT design, where a motorist MAY enter the shared-left-turn lane and continue to the turn-only lane, often seen being done during heavy traffic flow situations. The picture below shows a CLOSED THROAT design, which forbids traffic from going over it. Again, during high-volume traffic, many motorists are seen violating this, with traffic backing up into the shared-left-turn lane. Copyright, GAM Consulting, 2013
  5. 5. Occasionally, you may see one or more sets of dashed, yellow lines. These are used toindicate “REVERSIBLE” lanes (often called “rush-hour” lanes), where traffic flow directionvaries with the amount of traffic anticipated. These are also often seen at toll-gate plazas.This is an exception to the “yellow on left” rule, if you are in the reversible lane, going withthe general traffic flow. Copyright, GAM Consulting, 2013
  6. 6. Traffic engineers will also used a dashed yellow line to indicate and “extended center-line” through a multi-lane turn. HINT: If you see one of these during a drive test or evaluation, DO NOT TOUCH the yellow line, or you may fail the test/evaluation.REMEMBER: In Traffic Safety, YELLOW always means a potential hazard isnearby. Whether it is a sign, a road marking, or a curb, the color yellowshould put the prudent driver on alert. Copyright, GAM Consulting, 2013