Knowing your road lines and what they mean could help you avoid an unwelcome penalty ticket and even points on your licence, says road safety and breakdown organisation GEM Motoring Assist.
GEM has assembled a line-by-line guide to staying safe, designed to reduce risk and help drivers steer clear of trouble with the police and local authorities.
GEM chief executive Neil Worth commented: “We know from the member enquiries we receive that there is confusion over what’s allowed and what isn’t when it comes to lines in the road.
“One of our most popular Blue Light Aware videos explains why not even emergency vehicles using blue lights are exempt from certain road lines and markings.
“That’s why we’re taking the opportunity to offer this information to reduce confusion and boost safety for all road users.”
Learning your lines: GEM’s line-by-line guide to staying safe
It’s legal to cross a broken white line down the middle of a road if you’re overtaking or turning. Just make sure the road is clear and you can complete the manoeuvre safely.
When the broken lines lengthen and the gaps between them shorten, that’s a warning of a hazard ahead. However, it’s still legal to cross the line.
Double white, with broken on your side
As long as the line nearer to you is broken, then it is legal to cross it if you are overtaking. You must be back on your side of the road before reaching the start of a solid white line on your side.
White ‘return’ arrows
These arrows warn you to get back onto your side of the road because a solid white line system is about to start.
Double white, solid on your side
It’s an endorsable offence to cross or straddle a double white line where the line nearer to you is solid, unless you are turning right into a side road or a driveway. Overtaking is not allowed, unless you’re going past a stationary vehicle, a cyclist, horse and rider or road maintenance vehicle travelling at 10mph or less. The offence carries a £100 fine and three penalty points. However, if the police deem your overtaking manoeuvre particularly risky, you face being charged with the more serious offence of dangerous driving.
Double line parking
It’s an offence to park at the side of a road marked with double white lines, even when a broken white line is on your side of the road. You are allowed to drop off or pick up passengers, or to load or unload goods.
Zig-zag lines at crossings
It’s an endorsable offence to park on the zig-zag lines found on each side of pedestrian crossings. The offence carries a £100 fine and three penalty points.