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Can I Cross a Solid Line on a Roadway?

Posted on May 10, 2022

Confusion over pavement markings can cause severe car accidents. In most cases, Pennsylvania drivers cannot cross a solid line unless it is accompanied by a broken line, which means a turn can be made.

What are the Dangers of Crossing a Solid White Line?

Other road users may not be able to anticipate your maneuver since vehicles are not supposed to cross a solid line. As a result, crossing a solid white line when it is illegal to do so can lead to a collision with another vehicle, bicyclist, or pedestrian. These unanticipated accidents can be severe, possibly resulting in injuries and expensive property damage, and medical bills. Additionally, if you are at fault for a crash because you illegally crossed a solid white line, you may be liable for another party’s damages if they suffer a serious injury. 

What is the Intended Purpose of a Solid White Line on a Roadway?

Solid white lines are used to divide lanes of traffic traveling in the same direction, may indicate a mandatory turn lane, and are also used to mark the edge of the road. White lines may also appear as broken, in wide dots, as wide solid white or a wide double line. 

  • Normal or Wide Solid White Line: When a solid white line is painted between travel lanes, vehicles should be discouraged from crossing it. Drivers are supposed to remain in their travel lane and only change if necessary to avoid an accident. 
  • Normal Broken White Line: A broken white line separates travel lanes, but drivers are permitted to cross them and change lanes. 
  • Dotted White Line:  Separates a through lane from a deceleration or acceleration lane, or becomes a mandatory exit or turn lane. 
  • Double White Line: Separates travel lanes and must not be crossed for any reason. 

What is the Intended Purpose of a Single Solid Yellow Line on a Roadway?

Single solid yellow lines mark the center of a two-way road and alert drivers that traffic travels in two different directions. Similar to white lines, yellow lines can be solid, broken, solid with an accompanying broken line and a normal double yellow line. 

  • Broken Yellow Line: Marks a two-direction passing zone where vehicles traveling in either direction can cross into the other lane to pass. 
  • One Solid Yellow Line and One Broken Yellow Line: Only vehicles traveling adjacent to the broken line may cross into the other lane to pass or make a turn. 
  • Two Solid Yellow Centerlines with Broken Yellow Lines Inside: This center lane cannot be used for passing, but vehicles traveling in either direction may use it to make left turns.
  • Solid Yellow Double Line: Vehicles are prohibited from crossing a solid yellow double line to pass a vehicle. However, drivers can cross one if they are making a turn. 


Penalties for Illegally Crossing a Solid Line

Although crossing a solid white or yellow line is not always prohibited, it is off-limits in some circumstances. If a police officer pulls you over for illegally crossing a solid line, they may issue you a moving violation that can carry a fine and may also add points to your driving record. The fine amount can also increase if you are a repeat offender. 

How Does Illegally Crossing a Solid Line Impact Accident Liability?

Illegally crossing a solid line in Pennsylvania can have implications for accident liability. Here are ways in which this type of traffic violation can impact your claim:

Presumption of Negligence

You will likely be assumed negligent and at fault for the collision. When a driver violates traffic laws, it is often assumed that they failed to exercise reasonable care, and this presumption can influence liability.

Comparative Negligence

In Pennsylvania, each party involved in a crash is assigned a percentage of fault for their contribution. If you are found 51% or more to blame since you illegally crossed the solid line, you will not be able to recover compensation.

It is important to note that liability is a complex legal determination, and outcomes can vary based on the specific circumstances of each case.

How a Lawyer Can Help

If you crossed a solid line and got into an accident, consulting with a personal injury lawyer can still be beneficial. Here are ways in which an attorney can help:

Legal Assessment

A personal injury lawyer can assess your case, review the circumstances of the accident, and analyze the applicable laws. They can help you understand your rights and options.

Determining Liability

While you may have crossed a solid line, liability in an accident is not always straightforward. A lawyer can investigate the accident thoroughly, considering all factors, to determine if there are other contributing factors or if other parties involved share responsibility.

Negotiating with Insurance Companies

Dealing with insurance companies can be complex. A personal injury lawyer can negotiate on your behalf with the insurers involved, aiming to secure the best possible outcome and fair compensation.

Defenses and Mitigating Factors

Your attorney can explore potential defenses or mitigating factors that may impact the determination of liability. This could include factors such as the actions of other drivers, road conditions, or other circumstances.

Navigating Legal Proceedings

If legal action is taken against you, a personal injury lawyer can guide you through the legal proceedings and represent your interests in court.

Tips To Avoid Illegally Crossing a Solid Lane

Here are some tips to help you avoid illegally crossing a solid lane:

  • Plan Ahead for Turns: Anticipate turns well in advance. Plan your lane changes and turns, ensuring that you are in the appropriate lane with ample time to execute your maneuver legally.
  • Avoid Impulsive Turns: Resist the temptation to make sudden or impulsive turns across a solid line. These maneuvers increase the risk of an accident.
  • Obey No Passing Zones: Respect designated no passing zones, especially those marked with solid double yellow lines. Passing in these areas is not only illegal but also dangerous.
  • Stay Focused and Alert: Distracted driving can lead to unintentional lane violations. Stay focused on the road, avoid distractions, and be alert to changing traffic patterns.

If you are involved in a collision, speak to a Philadelphia car accident lawyer. They can help you determine liability and ensure you are treated fairly.