Tag Archives | double white lines

Know your double white lines

If you drive regularly on single-lane roads you’ll eventually need to overtake a slower vehicle, but before you do check the road markings ahead of you. These frequently appear as variations on double white lines. You’ll need to note if the white line nearest to you is broken or solid, or if both are solid. If the double white line nearest to you is broken, Rule 128 of the Highway Code says you may cross these lines to overtake if it’s safe, and you can complete the manoeuvre before reaching a solid white line on your side. You may also see white direction arrows on the road indicating that you need to get back on to your side of the road. Should the nearest double white line to you be solid, Rule 129 of the Highway Code says you must not cross or straddle these lines unless it is safe and you need to enter adjoining premises or a side road. There is one exception, you may cross a solid white line to pass a stationary vehicle, or overtake a cyclist, horse or road maintenance vehicle, if they are travelling at 10mph or less. So, if you’re sat behind a tractor doing 15mph, overtaking it would be breaking the law. Where both double white lines are solid, you must never cross these or overtake as they occur where visibility is restricted and overtaking hazardous.

Over the line

Many drivers mistakenly think that it’s legal to break the speed limit to safely overtake another motorist. But this common misconception is against the law and you could face a fine and penalty points. Under Rule 163 of the Highway Code, drivers should only overtake when it’s safe and legal to do so. Although it advises you to move quickly past the vehicle in front when overtaking, the Highway Code also states the speed limit is the ‘absolute maximum and does not mean that it is safe to drive at that speed irrespective of conditions’. In short, the speed limit is the speed limit, full stop. Overtaking is no excuse for speeding, and remember, never overtake if you have to cross double white lines or with a solid line nearest to you,