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Road Knowledge: What Do These Road Markings Mean?

Road Knowledge: What Do These Road Markings Mean?

By Melvin Magadia for Automart.PH

Knowledge of road markings is an important skill that new drivers should learn. Unfortunately, these pavement markings are one of the things that the most experienced drivers ignore. For you, it may seem like just markings, but getting familiar with them can save your life in the future. Road markings are taught in driving school and are also part of the driver’s license examinations.

It’s a sad fact we must accept that ignoring or not following road markings is inherent in the culture of Filipino drivers. But just because most Filipinos are doing it does not mean you have to do it yourself. Pavement markings are considered road signs.  As such, they are there to help avoid traffic jams and reduce accidents. Ignoring road markings is a traffic violation that falls under disregarding traffic signs or DTS, which is subject to a fine of P1,000.

Why Are There Road Markings?

Pavement markings play an important role in road safety. These lines we see on the road help regulate traffic. When drivers see a solid yellow or double yellow line, they will know the proper time to stay in their lane or when to overtake. In addition, they can safely change their lane. When you learn to follow road markings, you won’t be caught in the X-marked intersection box, pay heavy fines, and cause traffic.

With road markings, drivers and pedestrians will be safe using the road. Drivers will slow down and allow pedestrians to cross.  Well-lit road markings will also help improve night-time visibility. Drivers face all kinds of situations while driving, and road markings will help ensure their safety during these conditions.

What Do These Road Markings Mean?

Now that we know their importance to safety let us understand their meanings so that we can follow them and avoid paying stiff penalties. For this article, we shall classify road markings into white lines, yellow lines, and other road markings.

1. White Lines

White lines could be diagonal, broken, solid, or mixed but each type has its own meaning.

  • Diagonal. In the Philippines, diagonal white lines signify that an area is not technically part of the actual road. Vehicles are prohibited from taking a road with a diagonal white line except during emergencies. Diagonal white lines are often used to ease traffic flow on roads that diverge and intersect.
  • Solid White Center Line.  A solid white center line divides traffic on a two-way multi-lane road. Like any solid line, you are discouraged from overtaking unless there is a clear path.  On roads with a solid white center line, incoming traffic still has the right of way.
  • Solid White Horizontal Line.  These road markings are very common in intersections or in the presence of traffic lights. The horizontal line marks where you must stop at a stop sign or when the light turns red.
  • Broken White Lines.  This can be seen in two situations. The first one is on a two-lane road and the other one is on a multi-lane road. The former signifies the center of the two lanes, while the latter is designed to guide drivers of different lanes. In the second scenario, you need to stay in your lane. You are allowed to cross these lanes, provided you give way to those who are already in the lane.
  • Mixed Center Line. This marking is a combination of a solid and broken white line. This means that only the cars on the side with the broken line are allowed to overtake. A mixed center line is common around curves when the view is blocked from one direction but clear from the opposite side.

2. Yellow Lines

There are four yellow road markings commonly used in the Philippines, namely double, solid, broken, and box. Let’s discuss each.

  • Double  Yellow Line. Double yellow lines indicate that it is risky to pass other cars at any time. They are commonly seen on blind curves or when no other lane dividers are on the road.
  • Solid Yellow Lane Divider.  This is very common along EDSA. Solid yellow lane divider are designed for the bus lanes. In other areas, they could also mean bike lanes. At night, solid yellow lane dividers are for buses only.
  • Broken Yellow Lane Divider. Once you see the solid yellow lines in EDSA replaced by broken yellow lines, this means that there is merging traffic. However, buses still own the right of way.
  • Yellow Box. These x-marked boxes are common in intersections. Vehicles are strictly prohibited from stopping within these yellow boxes. It should always be kept clear even if the light is green. In addition, you are not allowed to queue within the box if the other side of the intersection is congested. The only exception is when you are turning right but was stopped by incoming traffic.

3. Other Road Markings

When driving, you will encounter other road markings on the road. It is also important to know their meaning as it will keep you from getting a ticket or avoiding an accident.

  • Broken Blue Lane Divider. This is another common road markings along major thoroughfares. The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority set it up in 2012 as a motorcycle lane.  On major roads, riders can use it to keep them safe from larger vehicles. Cars are allowed to move in and out of the lane, but it is still reserved for motorcycles.
  • Zebra Crossing. Zebra crossing is the marking of a pedestrian crossing zone.  Vehicles cannot stop over these lines during a red light as it could subject you to a traffic ticket. These lines are designed for pedestrians to cross safely and protect them from collisions with vehicles.
  • Rumble Strips. Rumble strips are horizontal, narrowly spaced lines placed right before hazards, merging lanes, or blind curves. You can also feel these markings as it will shake your vehicle so it is best to slow down.
  • Directional Arrows.  These lines notify drivers of which lane they can turn to. Straight-headed arrows mean you can only go straight. Double-headed arrows mean you can go right or left in your lane. U-shaped arrows mean you are approaching a u-turn slot. These markings are usually found in the innermost lane.  

Road markings are there for a reason. They are designed to control traffic flow and keep drivers and pedestrians safe. As a responsible driver, it is your job to know their meaning.

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Content Editor Kyle Liong contributed to this story.