Road markings and lines are a part of our everyday lives. They visually provide instructions to the road and provide a level of organization to our driving habits. We are so used to lines in the road that we rarely even notice them, although they play an important role in society.
We didn’t always have an organized system of lanes to drive in, as there weren’t lines in the roads at all. There were simply open roads that could be driven upon, with a general understanding from most drivers on how to actually drive down the road safely.
The first lines that were used in our roadways were white lines that were used at intersections. These white lines are essentially still in place today, as we still use them to tell drivers they need to stop at an intersection. The use of these lines has decreased the number of accidents on the road, signifying an improvement to our system of driving. Yellow lines were eventually added in the 1950s. These lines were used primarily for parking zone areas and loading zones.
We used to primarily use paint as lines in the road, but there are some inherent problems that came along with using this substance. For one, paint degrades after a fairly short period of time. This caused paint lines to fade rather quickly, which created a need for a new product. Thermoplastic was brought in as a replacement for paint, based on the fact that it was far more durable. Another big advantage of thermoplastic was that it was far quicker to lay, which decreased the time necessary to build new roads.
Most lines that we have on our roads today are either white or yellow, with varying degrees of solid and broken lines. Each color and pattern of lines determine how we are supposed to drive on the road. If you see a solid white line, it means you must stay in the lane you’re in. The solid white line means you are unable to pass the cars in front of you, which may tell you that it would be dangerous to do so on this stretch of road. A broken white line is an indicator that it is safe to pass, which means you can legally pass a car in front of you.
Solid yellow lines are still used for parking zones, so if you see a yellow line it may indicate that you can park. However, certain areas of the globe use solid yellow lines to tell drivers they are unable to pass. A double yellow line tells drivers that it is unsafe to change lanes, which may indicate that you are driving on an unsafe stretch of road.
There are also double yellow lines that have a broken line on one side of the road. This tells drivers who are on the broken line that they are able to pass, but the cars going in the opposite direction must stay in their lane. It can be dangerous if you don’t understand what certain lines mean, so make sure you study before you get on the road.