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Double Yellow Means Don't Pass!

Mind the double yellow. There's a reason they exist.

Thumb picture SVT_MAN - Jun 15, 2017



One of the most important things that drivers in the United States learn in driver's education is what pavement markings indicate on the roadway.  Pavement markings assist drivers in knowing what is legally permissible - and even more importantly, safe to do - at various points in the road.  From indicating where a turn lane begins to giving us information about whether passing is permitted, pavement markings are like an instruction manual for how to use the road that lie ahead.

You'd think that after encountering pavement markings day in and day out, drivers would remember what they mean;  yet, I see violations of the rules all the time.  From time to time, we could all use a refresher on the rules of the road and pavement markings.

So let's talk Double Yellows.

Here is the guidance from Federal Highway Administration's Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices with regard to yellow lines:

Drivers should stay to the right of yellow lines. A solid yellow line indicates that passing is prohibited. A dashed yellow line indicates that passing is allowed.
Pretty straight forward, right?  But drivers violate it frequently and, unfortunately, this violation is extremely dangerous.

Up Close and Personal

The most egregious violation that I have ever personally seen of the rule happened to me - yes to me - a few days ago.

The incident happened on California's beautiful and scenic canyons of HWY 166, just west of New Cuyama, CA. I was headed west-bound as I rounded a curve that was blinded by bushes and roadside brush.  As I began to turn into the curve, I was quite horrified to see a vehicle headed straight for me in my lane.  

I did what I had to in order to prevent a potentially horrific oncoming crash.

I instinctively slammed on the brakes as hard as I could.  Then,  when I saw that the oncoming vehicle still would not have room to pass, I did the only thing I could:

I steered the car into the shoulder and partially off the road.

Thankfully, in my case, everything worked out alright.  There was an area off the road that was smooth enough for my low ground clearance vehicle to travel without too much drama.  Although the bushes brushed up against my  2017 Ford Mustang Ecoboost Convertible rental, upon inspection, the car received no damage in the incident.

Just Don't 

The next time you are tempted to pass at a double yellow line, don't do it!  It isn't worth whatever time you'll save to put yourself and others at risk for a head on collision.

Watch the video below and see just how much danger and risk the other driver put my passenger and me in.



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