Nov 30, 2012

Solid white line: OK to pass?

Simone of Grand Haven asked, "Can you cross a solid white line to change lanes, such as on U.S. 31 south of the drawbridge? What's the rule?"

ANSWER:

On roadways that have more than one lane moving in one direction, like the highway, broken white lines typically separate traffic lanes. You are expected to drive between these lines and never straddle them, but you may pass if it's safe.

But Simone would like to know if you can pass when the solid white line is only separating lanes of traffic headed the same way.

The Michigan Secretary of State Office has our answer:

"When solid white lines separate lanes of traffic moving in the same direction, crossing into another lane is not recommended," according to the state agency's "Michigan Driver's Manual." "These white lines may designate sharp curves, freeway acceleration and deceleration lanes, and other parts of the road where lane changes are considered dangerous."

It is also illegal to use a right turn lane for passing.

You will also encounter other road lines on highways.

Passing on the right of another vehicle by crossing a solid white line that marks the edge of the roadway is prohibited in Michigan, according to the American Safety Council. Often called fog lines, solid white lines are there to help you stay on the road at night or in bad weather.

A double solid white line is used to show a travel path where driving in the same direction is permitted on both sides of the line, but crossing the line is prohibited.

Yellow lines separate vehicle traffic lanes moving in opposite directions. A single broken yellow line usually marks the centerline of a two-way roadway where a vehicle may pass if it is safe. If a solid yellow line is on your side of the centerline of a roadway, do not cross over it to pass. On a four-lane divided roadway or a one-way road, a solid yellow line usually marks the left edge of the pavement. A double solid yellow line down the middle of a two-lane roadway means that passing is not allowed for vehicles traveling in either direction.

For more state traffic laws, download the entire "Michigan Driver's Manual" from the state website. Get it by clicking here.

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Do you have a question for the Tribune? E-mail it to news@grandhaventribune.com, and type MAILBAG in the subject line. Or mail it the old-fashioned way to: Grand Haven Tribune, MAILBAG, 101 N. Third St., Grand Haven, MI 49417. We'll do our best to get you an answer! A new Mailbag appears on grandhaventribune.com at 5 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Comments

Zegota

Then how would any driver coming from the Spring Lake, Ferrysburg entrance going South on the U.S.31 drawbridge cross over to continue going South or even turn left onto Jackson Street and go East for Home Depot...etc.?

LessThanAmused

From memory, I believe that the solid white lines that are in place as you go over the drawbridge area change to broken white lines as you come down off the drawbridge and into town. The article also says that crossing over these solid white lines is "not reccommended" which implies, to me at least, that it's not illegal to do so.

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