Hatched Road Markings

Hatched road markings or diagonal road markings can cause learner drivers a considerable amount of confusion. Hatched road markings are used to separate traffic lanes and to make it safer for the vehicles turning right.

Hatched road markings have failed a considerable amount of driving tests due to a learner driver dealing with them inappropriately. Hatched road markings are simply used to separate traffic for safety reasons. Many learner drivers try to avoid driving on them at all costs, when in reality if it’s legal to do so, it can on many occasions be far safer to drive on the hatched markings.

This section explains the legality of hatched road markings and when it’s best to drive on them.

The main rule to remember is that continuous solid white lines cannot be driven over, but broken white lines can. The images below offer a typical example where learner driver get into trouble during a driving test. Whether you can drive in a hatched area is dependent on if it is surrounded by a continuous solid white line or a broken one.

Hatched road markings with broken line

Hatched road markings
If the road is clear, try to avoid driving over the hatched road markings. Be cautious however of a vehicle behind you also turning right and cutting up beside you over the hatched area. Always check mirrors and blind spot before moving over and changing direction.
If the lane you intend on joining has cars waiting, avoiding the hatched area may result in your vehicle straddling another lane and restricting traffic flow. In this situation, you should enter the hatched area.
If the lane you intend on joining has cars waiting, drive over the hatched road markings providing the outer line is broken.
Solid line surrounding hatched road markings

Solid line surrounding hatched road markings

This image is an example on a dual carriageway where the far right lane or ‘fast lane’ is merging. A typical example often seen is where a 2-lane carriageway is merging into a single lane. This hatched area may be surround by a broken line, or if the section of road is hazardous, a solid line may surround the hatched area.

The hatched area surrounded by a continuous solid white line prohibits vehicles from entering this area except in an emergency. Where an emergency situation is not in progress, it is a traffic offence to enter the area.

Hatched road markings and the driving test

The key is to keep a keen eye on road markings to initially establish if a hatched road area is surrounded by a continuous solid or broken line. If broken, you must then determine whether it is safer to enter the area due to other vehicles either already in the lane you intend on taking or vehicles behind you. Always remember mirror, signal, manoeuvre before changing direction and if changing lanes, you must check the blind spot before doing so.

Related information

25 thoughts on “Hatched Road Markings”

  1. Geoff

    Is it legal to park opposite hatched road markings with broken lines.

  2. Hello Geoff,
    Hatched areas are not placed on the road to restrict parking, but to guide and separate vehicles to aid in avoiding collisions. Providing you are not causing any kind of obstruction and are parked in an area which does not prohibit parking, it should be fine.

  3. sophie

    Which highway code rule does this come under please?

  4. Hi Sophie,
    For lines surrounding hatched road markings and chevrons, it’s Highway Code rule 130.

  5. Vito


    Wonder if you can advise; Is it an offence to park in an area marked with diagonal white stripes bordered by a solid line if it is not an emergency?

  6. Hello Vito,
    Parking in this area would be somewhat irrelevant, it’s the fact the the solid line was crossed that would make it an offence. So it would be an offence yes.

  7. Vito

    your reply is greatly appreciated….. I asked because have approached Avon and Somerset Constabulary on this and they say it is not, because these markings are only advisory. My own research concurs with your own advice….are you able to point me to relevant sources where I can obtain hard evidence to challenge the Constabulary’s view.

    I would really appreciate some help on this as I think this is a matter that is in the public interest.


  8. John Henry

    Are you allowed to drive into an area with has broken lines and hatched but the tarmac is painted red.

  9. Hello John
    Regulation remains with road markings and the red tarmac is typically used to highlight a hazardous area. In other areas they can aid in differentiating lanes from one another (bus/cycle/car etc). These types of tarmac can also have an alternative surface texture to increase friction and to help reduce skidding.

  10. Tracey

    Hi are you allowed to u turn on broken hatch lines? They are broken on both sides

  11. Hi Tracey,
    It is advised to keep clear of hatched markings with broken lines, but you can legally enter them. So providing making U-turns is not prohibited, then yes you can.

  12. Anon

    Can I overtake when there is a hatched area with broken lines running along the middle of the road for the majority of the road itself (single lane national speed limit)?

  13. Anon

    Thanks! That’s what I thought until I got pulled over by the Police!! He said it can only be used to overtake vehicles travelling less than 10mph. He wasn’t a traffic cop but said I would have got a ticket if traffic had stopped me!

  14. The hatched areas in the centre of the road are generally used to separate traffic lanes. If they have broken white lines it’s generally advised to not enter them but it’s not illegal. The overtaking vehicles travelling 10 mph or less law applies to solid lines, where for example you see two lines in the centre of the road – one or both of them being a solid continuous line (you cannot cross it if the line nearest to you is solid other than certain exceptions). Solid lines may also surround a hatched area. See double white lines.
    Perhaps the issue that the officer had was that it wasn’t necessary for you to enter the area.

  15. ANON

    Hi just wondering if there is a continuous hatched marking on a 2+1 carriageway and a vehicle overtakes on the hatched marking is it n offence?

  16. Hi, Where the hatched area on the driver’s side has a continuous solid white line, in the UK it would be illegal to cross, except for very specific circumstances. Though 2+1 carriageways are usually separated by a physical barrier.

  17. shaun

    I was recently driving the route of my upcoming extended driving test and this situation arose…on a single lane carriageway which was on a hill with a blind bend at the top, I came across a horse rider maybe 150yds short of the brow of the hill, it is a fairly open and wide stretch of road and therefore has a speed limit of 50mph, the issue was that the horse had just passed the start of an area in the centre of the road with white diaganol hatching with a solid line surround and with red tarmac underneath, to pass wide and slow would have meant putting a wheel onto the hatched area but the alternative was to drive for a long distance behind the horse on a 50 mph road,any thoughts?

  18. Hi Shaun,
    I think firstly, it’s not a very appropriate road for a horse rider, where they’re causing this situation. The Highway Code does state for double white lines in the centre of the road, where the white line nearest to you is solid, that you must not cross it unless to pass a stationary vehicle, or overtake a pedal cycle, horse or road maintenance vehicle, if they are travelling at 10 mph (16 km/h) or less (and providing that it’s safe to do so).

    Areas for hatched / diagonal road markings surrounded by a solid white lines oddly do not fall under the same rules and can only be crossed in an emergency. Due to these being the rules, you would have to remain behind the horse rider until it is legal and safe to pass.

  19. Ignas

    What if the turning right area clear , but island is small so obviously to enter that island to turn right i would need slow down car ( and slow traffic behind me but not for long )
    Would it be right reason to go in hatched area before island and use that area to slow down car and position for turn right ( my reason would be so i wouldnt slow down cars behind me , is that is okey to do on driving test? Thanks for answer

  20. Hi Ignas,
    No, where possible, try to avoid entering the hatched area – even if it does have broken lines and that it’s legal to do so. They are placed in areas to separate traffic lanes for safety, so it negates their presence if you simply drive in them anyway.

    What you need to do in this situation is to check your mirrors, signal and slow down in good time. This way you’ll give following drivers plenty of time to react and slow down.

  21. Bob

    I think I had similar situation to Ignas, the island to turn right was full of cars, cars were already queueing to turn right across the hatched area which is full of broken car parts, so I slowed down and waited in the carriageway avoiding the hatched area till a space was available to go into the filter without going onto the hatched area. This aggravated the cars behind me who wanted me to filter into the hatched area. Lots of horn beeping eventually followed when I got into the filter.

  22. Hi Bob,
    Full of broken car parts? Doesn’t sound very safe.
    You can enter the hatched area provided the line surrounding the hatch isn’t solid, but if the area in question is full of debris, as you say ‘broken car parts’, you don’t want to risk damaging your own vehicle or getting a puncture. Unfortunately, drivers are very impatient these days, but if it’s a choice between making other drivers wait for a short time or potentially receiving a puncture, I’s probably do the same as you.

  23. Jody

    Can you enter broken hatched markings on a roundabout if a large vehicle is on your left and you are going straight on?

  24. Hi Jody,
    If the hatched area is not surrounded by a solid line, then legally you can. But you should be cautious. Depending on the size of the roundabout, the large vehicle might need extra room, so it might be safer to hang back.

Leave a Reply

Exit mobile version