Don’t Cross A Double Solid Yellow Line to Pass:  Route 259 Head-On Crash

While most drivers understand pavement markings used on streets and highways, some combinations of lines and colors can be confusing.  But, when it comes to double solid yellow lines, let’s be clear, DO NOT PASS other vehicles along such a stretch of roadway.  Let’s restate that for effect:  Don’t cross a double solid yellow line to pass another vehicle!  The risks involved with such maneuvers are frequently not worth it.  Unfortunately, there have been numerous crashes recently which prove that point, such as a recent crash on Route 259 in Rockingham County, Virginia.

Double Solid Yellow Line Rules

Yellow lines mark a separation of traffic traveling in opposite directions.  They are also used on the left edge of divided roadways and one-way streets.  In both of these instances, motorists must drive to the right of the double solid yellow line.

If the yellow line is broken or dashed, passing of slower moving vehicles is permitted when it is safe to do so.  But, when the yellow line is solid, passing or driving left of the solid yellow line is prohibited.  A driver may, however, cross a solid yellow line to make a left turn.  A combination of a dashed and solid yellow prohibits passing from the side of the solid line.

Passing on Double Solid Yellow Lines

Some collisions that occur on two-lane roadways are caused by drivers who attempt to pass other vehicles in close proximity to oncoming traffic.  Sometimes the oncoming traffic might be beyond the passing driver’s sight distance when he or she starts the passing maneuver.  Even though Virginia law requires drivers to heed the site distance necessary to pass safely, some drivers underestimate the sight distance needed.  Still other drivers choose to risk passing vehicles on double solid yellow lines regardless of inadequate sight distances.  In response to this, traffic engineers began marking no-passing zones in areas where sight distances were inadequate to safely pass a vehicle which was traveling just below the maximum posted speed limit.  Factors such as weather conditions and driving at night may increase the sight distance necessary for safe passing.

Consider the scenario of a driver planning to pass a vehicle on a two-lane double solid yellow line.  Typically, drivers take approximately 10 seconds to pass a car traveling 45 mph.  A 10 second pass at 45 mph covers close to 660 feet.  Six hundred sixty feet is approximately 55 yards, which is more than half the length of a football field.  That is a significant amount of distance required to pass a vehicle, especially when there may be blind curves or other obstructions to a driver’s view.

Time, Speed, Distance Calculations

Here is a good cheat sheet for time, speed, distance calculations:

1 mile per hour = 1.4667 feet per second
10 miles per hour = 14.7 feet per second
20 miles per hour = 29.3 feet per second
25 miles per hour = 36.7 feet per second
30 miles per hour = 44.0 feet per second
35 miles per hour = 51.3 feet per second
40 miles per hour = 58.7 feet per second
45 miles per hour = 66.0 feet per second
50 miles per hour = 73.3 feet per second
55 miles per hour = 80.7 feet per second
60 miles per hour = 88.0 feet per second
65 miles per hour = 95.3 feet per second

Route 259, Rockingham County, Crash

The Virginia State Police has reported that on Monday, August 5, a head-on crash along Route 259 that killed an employee of the Rockingham County Sheriff’s Office.

According to the Virginia State Police, 30 year old Raven Morgan was hit head-on on Route 259 (Brocks Gap Road) Monday night when another driver crossed a solid yellow line to try to pass a Dodge Challenger and a tractor trailer.

WHSV TV3 is reporting that Raven Morgan, who had worked as a Public Communications Assistant in the Rockingham County Sheriff’s Office for more than six years, died at the scene.

Raven Morgan, who was wearing a seat belt, died at the scene. She had worked as a Public Communications Assistant in the Rockingham County Sheriff’s Office for over six years.  Sheriff Bryan Hutcheson told WHSV the entire office is heartbroken.

Charges are pending as investigation continues into the crash and its causing factors.

Double Solid Yellow Lines:  Don’t Take the Risk

Drivers must be aware of the distances needed to pass other vehicles when traveling on two lane roads.  To be safe, don’t risk passing on a double solid yellow line.  Two frequently, blind curves or other visual impediments make such passing unsafe and not worth the risk.

Talk with a Car Accident Lawyer

If you or a loved one suffered significant injuries at the hands of a drowsy driver, the Ritchie Law Firm is here to help.  The experienced, certified attorneys at the Ritchie Law Firm has helped thousands of injured victims and their families recover the compensation they deserve after an accident. Contact us by phone at 800-277-6124 or by using our online contact form.

Ritchie Law Firm is a personal injury law firm devoted to helping individuals who have suffered serious and catastrophic injuries or lost a loved one as a result of someone else’s negligence. Ritchie Law Firm serves all of Virginia, while helping clients in cities and surrounding areas of Harrisonburg, Charlottesville, Staunton, and Winchester also serves clients in West Virginia, including Martinsburg, WV.

Download our free book, “Your Rights After A Serious Auto Accident” by completing the form below: