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Auto Accident Blog

What Does a White Line On The Road Mean?

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

If you search Maryland statutes for the term “white line,” you might be surprised to find that white lane designation lines are only mentioned in reference to tunnels. So the question is, what is your obligation when faced with single or double white lines, and how are you supposed to know?

The Maryland Drive’s Manual taught us that solid white lines are used to mark the edge of the roadway and “the separation of lanes where travel is in the same direction, but where lane changing is discouraged.” But legally speaking, does that mean you can cross it, and what is the significance of lane changing being “discouraged?” The Maryland Driver’s Manual also addresses double solid white lines and tells us that double, or side by side, white lines are used for “separation of lanes where travel is in the same direction and lane changing is prohibited.” But again, if there is no law on the books, how can it be illegal to cross a double white line?

It turns out, the laws relating to single and double white lines are adopted by reference in the Maryland Transportation Code. Essentially, the State has adopted the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), published by the Federal Highway Administration. Instead of listing the laws in our code, Maryland law basically says it will follow the MUTCD. The language in the Maryland Driver’s Manual was then written to reflect the MUTCD, and that is then taught to all new drivers.

So, it turns out, you probably shouldn’t cross a single white line and definitely shouldn’t cross a double white line. You should remember, however, that crossing a single white line may not be a violation, but the result of crossing the might be. For example, if cross a single while line, you will not get a citation for that specifically, but you may fail to drive right of center, make an unsafe lane change, fail to drive on the travel portion of the roadway, or other similar violations that require you to first cross the line.

In Maryland, car accident injuries are the most common type of negligence claim. If you are injured in an automobile accident, the earlier you obtain an attorney, the greater benefits the attorney can provide. Contact us today at 301-670-7030 for a free consultation.

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