New York Traffic Markings - Crossing the Line

Written by Staff Writer

It is good to be clear as to what roadway markings allow you to do. When can you pass? What does that white line mean? The New York DMV's driver manual explains different traffic signs, signals and markings. For quick reference, here are some of the most common markings and the rules behind them.

Solid Double Yellow Lines

There are certain conditions where you are allowed by law to make turns over, and left turns out of, a driveway and crossovers from driveway to driveway as long as the flow of traffic is not impeded and no excessive speed is used. If oncoming vehicles must slow or make drastic maneuvers, these are not safe actions. Double yellow lines cannot be crossed in any other situations than those described.

Solid Single Yellow Line

Although not listed as an official traffic marking, there are places in New York where you will see a single solid yellow center line. This separates the flow of traffic in opposing directions similar to a solid double line. Motorists are not allowed to pass on a solid yellow line.

Single Broken Yellow Lines

A single broken yellow line shows traffic flowing in two opposite directions. You will most often see single broken yellow lines on two lane rural roadways. If conditions are right for passing, you may pass on the left of a single broken yellow line.

Single Broken White Lines

A single broken white line signals traffic flowing in two lanes in the same direction.

Road Limit Lines

Road limit lines are limit lines at intersections or streets controlled by traffic lights, where the driver is required to stop behind. At a street or intersection with a stop sign, the driver should stop behind the limit line, and then proceed out into the intersection at a cautious speed to start a turn or other maneuver. On roads or intersections without limit or crosswalk lines, the driver should use the end of the curb as a determination of where the intersection starts and where the vehicle should stop. At a blind intersection, drivers should travel no more than 15 MPH and should exercise extreme caution.

Turn Lanes

Turn lanes are specifically designated lanes in the roadway for turning either right or left and can be governed by specific turn arrow lights that direct when the turn may be accomplished. The arrow will point in the direction of the turn and the red, yellow, and green arrow indicates the same as a red, yellow, or green light.


Crosswalks are specific lanes for pedestrians to cross roadways. They can be lined on the pavement and governed by walk and don't walk signs, or they can be unmarked. If the crosswalks are marked, the driver of the vehicle must stop at the marked stop line. If they are unmarked, the driver must stop before entering the intersection.