Dividing line rule you’re getting wrong.
Dividing line rule you’re getting wrong.

Nation's differing road rules for double white lines

YOU would think by now that the majority of Australian drivers would have our road rules figured out.

But it turns out that there is at least one more rule that a surprising amount of motorists aren't aware of, and it has to do with road markings.

So if you are one of the people who believed you were never able to cross an unbroken double line while driving then you are certainly not alone.

READ: The road rule drivers refuse to follow

In NSW, there are a number of circumstances in which drivers are permitted to cross unbroken double lines, with the most surprising being to enter or leave a road.

Many motorists are under the impression that it is illegal to cross a continuous double, or single, line even when driving off or on to a road.

But it appears this is simply a myth.

Under NSW road rules, you can cross a dividing line to enter or leave a property or road "by the shortest route".

This rule applies to both single and double dividing lines. Picture: RMS Handbook
This rule applies to both single and double dividing lines. Picture: RMS Handbook

For example, it is legal to turn right over dividing lines when coming out of a petrol station or shopping centre, unless there is a sign specifically stating you can't.

This rule applies to both double and single unbroken road markings.

Drivers are also permitted to cross any type of dividing line when turning right at an intersection.

The only other circumstances in which NSW motorists can cross unbroken lines is to maintain the safe passing distance when overtaking a bicycle rider or to avoid an obstruction on the road.

For the former, drivers will either be required to leave a one metre gap when passing a cyclist in a 60km/h or less speed zone or 1.5 metres when the limit is above 60km/h.

When deciding whether a road obstruction permits someone to cross double lines, drivers must consider if they have a clear view of oncoming traffic, if it is "necessary and reasonable in all circumstances" to cross the dividing line and if it is safe to do so.

Many drivers believe turning across double white lines is illegal in Australia.
Many drivers believe turning across double white lines is illegal in Australia.

Transport for NSW told news.com.au that it is critical all drivers keep up to date with road rules and regularly refresh their knowledge.

"It is important that all road users know the rules and abide by them," a Transport for NSW spokesperson said.

"Transport for NSW's annual Road Rules Awareness Week provides an opportunity for drivers to refresh their knowledge of road rules.

"We will include this rule in the next Road Rules Awareness Week in early 2019."

Drivers in the Northern Territory and Western Australia are also allowed to turn right across double dividing lines when coming from or going on to a property or different road.

In Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania it is illegal for motorists to cross a double dividing line to enter or leave the road.

Drivers in Victoria are only allowed to cross double lines to avoid a hazard, while those in Queensland can only do so to avoid cyclists.

Most states allow drivers to cross unbroken lines when overtaking cyclists. Picture: MyLicenceSA
Most states allow drivers to cross unbroken lines when overtaking cyclists. Picture: MyLicenceSA

Tasmanians and South Australians are able to cross the lines in both of these situations.

According to MyLicenceSA, a "slower moving vehicle or a vehicle stopped in a line of traffic" is not considered an obstruction.

However, crossing unbroken lines to get around a fallen tree, crashed vehicle or broken down car would be legal.

There is slightly more leeway when it comes to single dividing lines, with all states allowing drivers to cross single unbroken lines in order to enter or leave a road.

In NSW, illegally driving over a continuous dividing line could cost you two demerit points and a $263 fine.

Victoria and South Australia have the highest penalties for illegally crossing an unbroken line, with fines of $322 and $446 and both resulting in three demerit points.

Queensland also has a penalty of three demerit points for this offence, along with a $234 fine.

Drivers in Tasmania are looking at a $203.75 fine for this offence and two demerit points.

Western Australia has the lowest fine at $150 but will still cost drivers three demerit points.



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