Rule 127 A broken white line.
This marks the centre of the road. When this line lengthens and the gaps shorten, it means that there is a hazard ahead. Do not cross it unless you can see the road is clear and wish to overtake or turn off.
A common question we ask Associates when on an Observed Drive is about when it’s allowed to cross a double white line in the centre of the road. (They are pretty obvious and hard to miss!) But how many of you notice the changes in the single broken white line marking the centre of the road and, more importantly, think about what those changes are telling you, especially when taken in conjunction with any accompanying road signs?
You might be saying “what, the centre line changes?”. Of course, I’m hoping you’re screaming at the screen, saying “well of course the centre line changes, it’s warning me about a hazard!”. Either way, centre lines, like hatchings, stop lines, edge lines etc give us important information about upcoming hazards, allowing us to adapt our driving plans accordingly.
It’s important for all drivers to observe what they are telling us, combine it with other information such as other road signs and other hazards (physical features, other road users, weather conditions), anticipate the consequences, prioritise hazards, decide what to do and act upon our plan.
Common traffic signs and road markings are at the back of the Highway Code (have you got your copy of the 2022 revised edition?) Why not refresh your memory by glancing through next time you have a cup of coffee and see how many you can spot next time you’re out for a drive?
PS The answer to the question about double white lines is:
You must not cross a double white line where the nearest line to you is solid unless it is safe to do so and
- you need to enter adjoining premises or a side road
- to pass a stationary vehicle, overtake a pedal cycle, horse or road maintenance vehicle provided they are travelling at 10mph or less