Q&A - Solid Yellow vs Broken Yellow Lines

Q&A ImageThe provincial driving guide, Learn to Drive Smart, in the Yellow Lines section,  cites:

Broken line  -- passing is allowed when safe

Single yellow line -- vehicles travelling in either direction may pass when it is safe

What is the difference?

Comments

The Difference

Both lines really mean the same thing. The Motor Vehicle Act says:

Highway lines

155 (1) Despite anything in this Part, if a highway is marked with

(a) a solid double line, the driver of a vehicle must drive it to the right of the line only,

(b) a double line consisting of a broken line and a solid line,

(i) the driver of a vehicle proceeding along the highway on the side of the broken line must drive the vehicle to the right of the double line, except when passing an overtaken vehicle, and

(ii) the driver of a vehicle proceeding along the highway on the side of the solid line must drive the vehicle to the right of the double line, except only when finishing the passing of an overtaken vehicle, and

(c) one single line, broken or solid, the driver of a vehicle must drive the vehicle to the right of the line, except only when passing an overtaken vehicle.

(2) Subsection (1) (b) (i) and (c) do not apply if a driver is avoiding an obstruction on the highway and first ascertains that the movement can be made with safety and without affecting the travel of any other vehicle.

Suspension of sections 151 and 155

156 If the driver of a vehicle is causing the vehicle to enter or leave a highway and the driver has ascertained that he or she might do so with safety and does so without unreasonably affecting the travel of another vehicle, the provisions of sections 151 and 155 are suspended with respect to the driver while the vehicle is entering or leaving the highway.

I guess the only real difference is the amount of paint needed to mark them!

 

The diff is . . .

Here's the difference according to my son's driving instructor.

With the solid yellow line, the driver can safely make a left turn (into a driveway) only when traffic behind is not impeded by such action.

With a broken yellow line, the driver can safely make a left turn regardless of traffic behind.

Hmm...

I don't think that is the case. The two types of lines are lumped together in 155(1)(c) and the exemption in 156 is only granted if other traffic is not unreasonably affected, solid or broken...

Solid single lines are

Solid single lines are typically used on secondary roads.  I'd guess they are used when no survey of the road is done to establish safe passing zones - drivers must rely on their own judgement.

For what it's worth, a broken line doesn't always indicate a safe passing zone.  A slight rise ahead may not pose a view restriction to the driver of a truck, but it might be a problem for the driver of a car.  It's always best to use one's own judgement, and pass based on what you can actually see.  I almost learned this the hard way when I was 16 . . .

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