In a series of articles, we will be breaking down some of the more confusing and misunderstood road rules that can start the most heated debates at a barbeque.
The first part of this series will look at lanes and lane markings as these can cause issues for drivers, and often the correct answer is hidden in hearsay.
Something that was commonly taught and is now often overlooked is the lane markings themselves. Our road markings can help a learner understand what is required when driving on road.
Solid white lines on the left side of the road are called edge lines. These are either broken or unbroken (continuous) and are marked to keep traffic off soft road edges and breakdown lanes.
You may drive on, across or outside edge lines for up to 100 metres only if you are:
- Overtaking on the inside of vehicles turning right or, in a one-way street, overtaking vehicles turning left.
- Turning off or onto the road by the shortest route.
- Turning left or right at intersections.
- Driving a slow moving vehicle.
Unless a sign tells you otherwise, you can cross any type of dividing line when turning right at an intersection. You can also turn to the right across a dividing line to enter or leave a property (eg home or shops) by the shortest route.
- Broken white dividing lines – may be crossed to overtake if the road ahead is clear.
- Double white unbroken (continuous) lines – you cannot overtake across these lines.
- Double white lines with an unbroken (continuous) line closer to you – you cannot overtake across these lines.
- Double white lines with a broken line closer to you – you may cross the lines to overtake if the road ahead is clear.
Yellow lines painted near the edge of the road show that there are stopping restrictions and tell you what rules apply to that particular section of road.
A broken yellow kerb line is a CLEARWAY line. You must not stop at the edge of the road between the hours shown on the sign except in a medical or similar emergency. Buses, taxis and hire cars may only stop to pick up or set down passengers.
An unbroken yellow kerb line is a NO STOPPING line. You must not stop for any reason except a medical or similar emergency.
Dragon’s teeth are a painted series of triangular road markings placed in pairs on each side of a lane or road. Dragon’s teeth further increase the visibility of school zones for motorists and provide a constant reinforcement to slow down to 40 km/h around schools.
Coloured road markers:
These are often known as cat’s eyes and reflect at night when the head lights shine onto them. These markers help drivers know what type of line should be on the road or where hydrants are. These are helpful in heavy fog or poor conditions.
Red reflectors tell a driver not to go near them – warning. They will be placed on edges of the road to show the outer edge, or on islands to show you where not to go. The white reflectors show a driver a lane line separating same direction traffic or divide merge lanes or turn lanes. They show a driver they can cross these lines when safe to do so. Yellow or amber markers typically show the centre line of the road. Two yellow markers side by side show a double solid line and tell drivers you cannot cross.
One of the most common questions we are asked at Highlands Drive Safe is, “What are the blue markers for?” Blue markers are there to show emergency services and utilities that water hydrant or gas inspection ports are on the footpath. Often placed in the centre of the road a water hydrant will be marked with a yellow triangular flag on the side of the road. A gas port will be marked with a red flag on the side of the road. Occasionally these are not placed in the centre of the road and should never be used a centre line marker for drivers.