Pavement Markings

Road markings guide and warn drivers as well as regulate traffic. Markings may be red, blue, yellow or white. They may be used alone or in combinations. Each has a different meaning.

Red Markings are generally not used; but, some communities do use red curbs to indicate no parking zones.

Red reflectors on the pavement show areas not to be entered or used. They are positioned on the road surface so that only traffic flowing in the wrong direction would observe them.

Blue markings show parking spaces for persons with disabilities.

Yellow center lines mean two-way traffic, flowing in opposite directions.

Dotted white lines are actually small rectangles in a series where each is closely spaced to the next. They are used to show lane assignment in intersections and interchanges where there might otherwise be a tendency to drift out of a lane or an area of intended use. Often they are used to guide two turning lanes through the intersection.

Dotted white lines are also used to denote the opening of a turn lane at an intersection and entrance/exit lanes at interchanges. Many two-lane roads in Virginia do not have lane markings to separate the lanes. On an unmarked two-lane road, you may pass a slow moving vehicle on the left side if there are no signs prohibiting passing. Make sure that the way is clear.

Solid white lines show turn lanes and discourage lane changes near intersections, and at other locations where lane changes might be dangerous. Solid white lines also mark the right edge of pavement. Arrows used with white lines indicate which turn may be made from the lane. Stop lines, crosswalks and parking spaces also are marked by white lines.

White lane arrows are curved or straight. If you are in a lane marked with a curved arrow or a curved arrow and the word ONLY, you must turn in the direction of the arrow. If your lane is marked with both a curved and straight arrow, you may turn or go straight.

course white curved straight arrows

Double solid white lines separate lanes of traffic going in the same direction. Most often they are used to designate special use lane from conventional lanes, as when used to separate a High Occupancy Vehicle lanes from the other lanes of an expressway. You may not cross these lines. You may enter the designated special use lane only where signs and markings allow.

Yield line is a line of triangles extending across the roadway that may be used with a yield sign to show the point at which you must yield or stop, if necessary. A yield line is often seen at the entrance of a roundabout.

On three-lane roads with traffic moving in both directions, road markings show when drivers may use the center lane for making left turns or for passing.

If the center lane is marked by a single broken yellow line on both sides, drivers traveling in either direction may use the center lane for passing.

If both sides of the center lane are marked by a solid yellow line and a broken yellow line, drivers traveling in either direction may use the lane for making left turns. However, they may not travel further than 150 feet in this lane.

A shared lane marking or sharrow, consists of a bicycle symbol with a double chevron arrow above it and is used on travel lanes too narrow for motor vehicles and bicycles to share side-byside. Sharrows clarify where bicyclists are encouraged to ride in the lane and remind drivers to expect bicyclists on the road.

course shared lane marking
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