Double white lines are used to inform drivers of a hazard and where a continuous solid white line is present, prohibit drivers from overtaking as it is too hazardous to do so.
Double white lines also to separate opposing traffic flows on steep hills with climbing lanes. Double white continuous lines can also occasionally be used on single carriageway roads to divide lanes traveling in one direction.
A driving test can easily be failed by incorrectly following the rules of double white lines on the road. Furthermore, the law is strict in these circumstances and can result in penalty points of a full or provisional drivers licence and a fine.
Crossing double white lines
It is illegal to cross a continuous solid white line if the solid line is on your side of the road, except under certain conditions.
You are permitted to straddle or cross a continuous solid white line to enter a side road or property, to manoeuvre round a stationary vehicle blocking your side of the road, to overtake a cyclists, horse or a road works vehicle moving at 10 mph (16 km/h) or less. Crossing double white lines where the line closest to you is solid is illegal outside of the circumstances described above.
If the line closest to you is broken, you are permitted to cross this line providing it is safe to do so and that the overtaking manoeuvre can be completed before reaching a solid white line on our side of the road. Stopping on a road that has double white lines regardless of solid or broken on your side of the road is prohibited except to stop to pick up or unload passengers.
Fines for crossing double white line
The fine for crossing double white lines where the line nearest to you is solid often results in a driving conviction code TS50 – Failing to comply with traffic sign (excluding ‘stop’ signs, traffic lights or double white lines – resulting in 3 penalty points and a £60 fine.
Double white lines where both lines are solid
Solid white lines on both sides means traffic in either lane must not cross lines except for the above circumstances.
Double white lines where the line nearest you is solid
Solid white line on your side of the road means you must not cross the line except for the above circumstances. Vehicles in the opposite lane may cross the line.
Hatched markings where the line nearest you is solid
Some double continuous white lines have narrow areas of hatched lines within them or a wider area of hatching to the side. You must not cross a continuous white line to enter a hatched area.
Double white lines where the line nearest to you is broken
This means you may cross the lines to overtake if it is safe, provided you can complete the manoeuvre before reaching a solid white line on your side. White direction arrows on the road indicate that you need to get back onto your side of the road.
Hatched markings where both lines are solid
Hatched area to increase distance from lanes surrounded by solid double white lines. Traffic either side must not cross into hatched area.
Parking where double white lines are in the centre of the road
It may seem perfectly reasonable to park on a road with double white lines in the middle, especially if the line on your side, or the side that you intend to park is broken. However, the Highway Code (rule 240) states that you must not park on a road marked with double white lines, even when a broken white line is on your side of the road, except to pick up or set down passengers, or to load or unload goods. Note; the wording ‘must not’ is stating a mandatory action, whereas ‘should not’ advises only.
RELATED Tutorials on Road Markings
- See road markings and lines for further guides on road markings and their meanings