California Lane Markings Explained

Lane markings on road surfaces help drivers know which part of the road to use and understand traffic rules. Understanding pavement markings is crucial for safe and legal driving. By familiarizing yourself with these markings and their meanings, you will be better prepared for the California DMV test and equipped to drive responsibly on the road.

Single Solid Yellow Line

A single solid yellow line marks the center of a road with two-way traffic. Do not pass a vehicle in front of you if there is only one lane of traffic going your direction and a solid yellow line on your side of the road.

Double Solid Yellow Lines

Do not pass over double solid yellow lines. Stay to the right of these lines unless you are:

  • In a high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) carpool lane that has a designated entrance on the left.
  • Instructed by construction or other signs to drive on the other side of the road because your side is closed or blocked.
  • Turning left across a single set of double yellow lines to enter or exit a driveway or private road or make a U-turn. Two sets of solid double yellow lines spaced two or more feet apart are considered a barrier. Do not drive on or over this barrier, make a left turn, or make a U-turn across it, except at designated openings.

Broken Yellow Line

A broken yellow line indicates you may pass if the broken line is next to your driving lane. Only pass when it is safe.

Single Solid White Line

A single solid white line marks traffic lanes going in the same direction. This includes one-way streets.

Double Solid White Lines

Double solid white lines indicate a lane barrier between a regular use and a preferential use lane, such as a carpool (HOV) lane. You may also see double solid white lines in or near freeway on and off ramps. Never change lanes over double solid white lines. Wait until you see a single broken white line.

Broken White Lines

Broken white lines separate traffic lanes on roads with two or more lanes in the same direction.

End of Lane Markings

Ending freeway and street lanes are usually marked with large broken lines. If you are driving in a lane marked with broken lines, be prepared to exit the freeway or for the lane to end. Look for a sign that tells you to exit or merge.

end of lane markings california
Example of End-of-Lane sign with large broken lines
Exit only lane at exit ramp

Yield Line

A yield line is a solid white line of triangles that shows approaching vehicles where to yield or stop. The triangles point towards approaching vehicles.