Is it Ever Legal to Pass on a Double Solid Yellow Line?

There are a lot of traffic laws we need to be aware of that come with the responsibility of driving. Each state has its own set of rules, but many are standard across the country. Some of them are ingrained into our brains, but others we may have forgotten. The problem is, we may have been breaking those rules all along without even knowing it

A road with a double solid yellow line in a rocky area with a tunnel ahead made of rocks.
Double solid yellow line | Getty Images

What do the yellow lines mean in the center of the road?

How often do you drive down a road? If you’re like most of us, you’ve been doing it every day for quite a while. You’ve also probably noticed that there are lines in the middle of the road, which are yellow. Sometimes they’re broken yellow ones, and other times they’re a solid line. Sometimes there’s a solid one on one side and a broken one on the other. 

Broken yellow dashes in the middle signify that it’s OK to pass a vehicle in front of you. For the most part, conditions are safe for you to do so if the person ahead of you is traveling too slow for traffic. However, if you pass someone and the yellow line is solid, what does it mean?

A solid line means that conditions make it unsafe to pass anyone in that area. You will have to wait until the line is broken up on your side before you can go around the driver ahead of you. Otherwise, you need to wait. 

Is passing on a double yellow line ever allowed?

In most situations, passing on a double line is illegal. They’re put there due to the unsafe situation, like many curves in the road. This goes for the times you want to make a left-hand turn, and it’s a double solid line. 

You’ll have to wait until the line is broken. If a law enforcement officer catches you passing with two solid yellow lines, they will likely pull you over and give you a ticket. 

According to Lawyer Friend, the cost of getting caught could run around $160. It will be quite a bit more if you cause an accident by doing it. But, there are a few different situations where crossing those lines won’t be illegal. One is when you’re making an emergency maneuver to avoid an accident. 

You can also cross those lines if there’s construction work in that section of the road and you need to get safely around it. A police officer may guide you to go into that lane to avoid whatever is occupying the lane you would normally be driving in. 

How to pass the vehicle in front of you safely?

According to Drive Safe Online, you should be alert to what the painted lines on the road mean during the whole trip. If you find yourself wanting to pass a slow-moving vehicle, then check the center lines or any road signs to make sure it’s not only safe but also legal to do so. 

If you come across a situation where there’s a broken line on your side and a solid line on the other, you’re good to pass. Any vehicle in the other lane wouldn’t be allowed to cross the solid one on their side, though. If you want to pass a semi, be sure to get around them quickly due to their potential blind spots.

Be aware of the laws in your area as well. South Carolina, for example, has a law that says the left lane on an interstate is only to be used for passing. You can no longer drive for a while on that side without actually passing anyone. 

No one likes getting behind a slow-moving vehicle on the road, but we all experience it from time to time. However, be aware of when it’s legal and not to pass. Those lines in the center of the road will help guide you. 

RELATED: Is It Illegal to Pass Drivers on a Highway?