Don’t Cross A Double Solid Yellow Line:  Route 262 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 CROSS A DOUBLE SOLID YELLOW LINE.  Let’s restate that:  Crossing a double solid yellow line is extremely dangerousThe 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 262 in Augusta 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 to the 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.

Crossing Double Solid Yellow Lines

In addition to accidents caused by drifting into oncoming traffic, 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 pay attention to 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 even though obstacles block their vision.

In response to this, traffic engineers began making 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 you need to pass safely.

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 or 220 yards.  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 to help figure out speed and 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

So, if you are passing another vehicle traveling 65 miles per hour, it will take close to 953 feet (or more than 300 yards) to pass that vehicle.

Route 262, Augusta County Crash

The Virginia State Police has reported that on Saturday, August 30, 2020, a head-on crash occurred along Route 262 that left one dead.

According to the Virginia State Police, 43 year old Charlotte Gingerelli was hit head-on on Route 262 on Sunday morning when another driver crossed the center line and struck Gingerelli’s vehicle.

Double Solid Yellow Lines:  Don’t Take the Risk

Drivers must be extra vigilant on two lane roads where speed limits exceed 40 mph to make certain that they stay in their lane of travel.  It is also important for drivers to be aware of the distances needed to pass other vehicles when traveling on two lane roads.  Too frequently, blind curves or other visual impediments make such passing unsafe and not worth the risk.  To be safe, don’t risk passing on a double solid yellow line and always maintain your lane positioning.

 

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.