Chapter 8. Major Traffic Laws - Part 2

Florida Drug and Alcohol Test (TLSAE) Course: Chapter 8. Major Traffic Laws - Part Two

This chapter covers the following topics

8.2. Basic Driving Laws: ROAD MARKINGS

Section 8.2. Basic Driving Laws: ROAD MARKINGS


Generally, there are four types of pavement markings: centerline striping, edge striping, crosswalks, and pavement messages.

Centerlines: The centerline is the painted stripe in the center of the road that separates traffic proceeding in opposite directions. Under the new Uniform Code, centerlines must be painted yellow on two-lane highways and white on multi-lane highways and one-way streets.
  • Broken lines are used in areas where there are no restrictions on passing when it is safe to do so.

  • In areas where passing is not allowed, a solid yellow line is painted alongside the broken line. If the solid yellow line is on your side of the centerline, you may not pass.
If passing is not allowed for traffic in both directions, the broken line will be replaced by two solid yellow lines.

Lane dividers: When a roadway consists of two or more traffic lanes for vehicles moving in one direction, the lanes are divided by broken white lines. These broken lines may be crossed when passing.

Edge striping: In many areas, the right and/or left edges of the highway are marked with a solid white line. This line indicates the outside edge of the traffic lane, and may be crossed only by traffic moving to or from the shoulder. Occasionally yellow lines are used for left edge lines on divided roadways where traffic cannot pull entirely off the roadway, for marking of obstructions, and for traffic islands, which must be passed on the right.

White solid line: A solid white line is used to delineate the edge of a travel lane where travel in the same direction is permitted on both sides of the line but crossing the line is discouraged.

Double solid white lines: A double solid white line is used to delineate a travel lane where travel in the same direction is permitted on both sides of the line, but crossing the double lines is prohibited.

Crosswalks: White solid lines are used to denote pedestrian crosswalks at intersections and, in some situations, between intersections. A driver must stop at all crosswalks which are occupied by pedestrians if there are no controlling signals.

Pavement messages: In some areas, pavement messages are used to warn of conditions ahead, such as SCHOOL ZONE, RAILROAD CROSSING, etc. Such messages are lettered on the road surface in white paint.

Here are some examples:

No Pass

Two-lane, two-way roadway, passing prohibited in one direction. The solid yellow line indicates a no-passing zone for traffic flowing in that direction. The broken yellow line indicates a passing zone for traffic flowing in that direction.

Center Turn Lane

Multi-lane, two-way roadway, with two-way left turn lane reserved exclusively for left-turning vehicles in either direction.

HOV Lane

High Occupancy Vehicles ONLY (HOV Lane). HOV lanes can be found on major highways. To occupy the HOV lane, you must have two or more passengers in your vehicle or be driving an energy-saving vehicle (hybrid). These lanes are indicated by a diamond on the roadway.

Solid Yellow Line

A solid yellow line on each side of the roadway means no passing in either direction. However, you may cross these lines to turn.

Broken white lines

Broken white lines indicate lane separation for traffic flowing in that direction. Solid yellow lines indicate no-passing zones in both directions.

White lines

White lines are also used to indicate a bicycle lane. If you need to make a right turn or enter a driveway, you may use the bicycle lane, but only after you've checked carefully and made sure that there are no bicyclists nearby.

Two parallel white lines mark

Two parallel white lines mark a crosswalk for pedestrians. Most of the time you'll find them at intersections,where pedestrians can use them when they have a green light or "walk" signal. Remember, pedestrians can be unpredictable and may not cross with the green light, or may not allow themselves enough time to cross before the light turns red. Be aware of this and always yield to pedestrians when they are crossing. Crosswalks are not always at intersections. When approaching one of these crosswalks, slow down and keep a lookout for pedestrians. If anyone is in the crosswalk, you must come to a complete stop and allow them to cross before moving again. Remember that pedestrians may not always follow the pavement markings, so always be cautious and prepare to yield to anyone who steps into the roadway.

White lines also indicate the start of a turning lane.

When you're making a turn, be sure to be in the proper lane. Use your signal at least 100 feet in advance of the turn. If you are not in the correct lane at that point, you should wait until the next intersection to make your turn.

To make left and right turns at intersection

Car Number 1 Make a left turn from the leftmost lane into the left lane of the road you're entering.

Car Number 2 Make a right turn from the right lane into the right lane of the road you're entering.

To make Left Turn

If the road markings allow more than one lane to make a left turn, you should turn into the lane that corresponds to the lane that you're leaving.

Left turn only sign

Some intersections will be marked with a special lane specifically for left turns, in which case you should make your turn from that lane.

Turn sign

Always follow the white arrows marked in the lanes at an intersection - they will tell you whether you're allowed to make a right turn, a left turn, or only to go straight ahead. Always reduce your speed before making any turn.

Signs, signals and road markings keep traffic flowing safely. Always obey these controls and you'll reduce your chances of being in a crash.

Special Lanes:

In high traffic density areas, you may sometimes see an entire street or a few lanes on a street marked with cones. The cones may indicate that a lane or street is being used "out of the normal." For instance, to help relieve congestion at a sports or cultural event, entire streets or a few lanes will be used for traffic going in the opposite direction from what is "normal" until the traffic congestion is cleared.

Carpool Lanes:

Some highways have special driving lanes for carpools called "High Occupancy Vehicle" lanes (HOV), sometimes marked by a diamond symbol. Most highways have special on-ramps for carpools. Using a high occupancy or carpool lane requires a minimum of two occupants per vehicle, including the driver, unless you are driving an energy-saving vehicle (hybrid).

Signs at the on-ramp or along the highway tell you the number of passengers needed to use that lane and the days and hours that the requirements apply.

Some highways may have a special lane for buses only, or buses and carpools. This lane is also marked with a diamond symbol.


On a two-lane highway, use the left or center lane for passing. When there are three or more lanes, use center lanes. The right lane is best used by slow-moving vehicles and vehicles that are approaching their exit. The left lane is for passing or for approaching an exit on the left-hand side of the highway.

Limited-access highways are entered using an on-ramp, which sometimes includes an acceleration lane; the acceleration lane allows you to accelerate to the same speed as the traffic so you can merge smoothly. Try to locate a gap in traffic and adjust your speed to match the speed of the other vehicles on the highway. Act decisively, and avoid merging too slowly, which could cause a collision.

When approaching a tollbooth on the highway, reduce your speed, and allow trucks and trailers to cross over to their designated lanes. When leaving a tollbooth, look on both sides for vehicles that are merging from multiple tollbooth lanes back into the regular highway lanes.

City Streets

Plan your route ahead of time in the city. Try to travel at times other than rush hour, and find roads where traffic travels most easily. Whenever possible, stay on main streets, which are wider and controlled by traffic lights. Traveling side streets can present hazards and make it more difficult to travel across town.

Driving in the city, on the open road, and on the highway

In all cases, the following distance between you and another vehicle should be at least two to three seconds, depending on how fast you are traveling. In the city, two seconds is usually sufficient, but on the highway where you're going faster, leave a three-second gap.

Here's how to leave a three-second gap between you and the vehicle in front of you. You're in Car "A" following behind Car "B". Choose a stationary object on the side of the road in front of both cars, such as a tree, a sign or a telephone pole. When Car "B" passes that stationary object, begin counting: one thousand one, one thousand two, one thousand three. If you don't have time to count all three seconds, you're too close; adjust your speed and check your following distance again.

Learn to drive defensively in the city, on the open road, and on the highway. When you're driving, you must be prepared for any situation that arises. Here are some observations of people driving on the roadways and their habits. Some of these habits are both dangerous and illegal.

For example, one driver decides to exit the highway at the last second and cuts across three lanes of traffic. The FLORIDA law requires that drivers signal for at least 100 feet before changing lanes. For safety's sake, you should also ride for at least 50 feet in a lane before making another lane change.

  • Signal for at least 100 feet.
  • Look over your shoulder.
  • Look in your rearview mirror.
  • Stay in your lane for at least 50 feet before changing lanes again.
Another driver is stuck in a traffic jam. The lane next to the driver is an exit only lane. The driver pretends she or he is exiting, but instead cuts back into traffic. If a law enforcement officer sees this, she or he would ticket the driver. The law states when there is enough room for two cars to pass and one car is turning left, you can pass on the right. On the freeway, you can pass on the right. But you cannot use an exit-only lane to pass on the right - that's illegal.

Another example of illegal and unsafe driving is when drivers don't use turn signals when changing lanes on the highway because they are afraid that other drivers will speed up to keep them from getting into the next lane. A defensive driver will wait for these aggressive drivers to pass before trying to change lanes and then signal properly before doing so.

Another driver is about to miss his or her exit on the highway and backs up in the travel lane to get back to the exit. That's illegal and extremely dangerous!Instead of putting themselves and other people on the road in danger, drivers who miss their exits must go to the next exit, turn around, and then return to the correct exit.

Some drivers drive fast in the slow lane or slow in the fast lane. Any time that you're impeding the normal and reasonable flow of traffic, you're breaking the law, even on the highway, and will be ticketed. You can travel as slow as 50 miles an hour, the posted minimum speed on most highways, in the far right lane, which is the slow lane.

Other drivers drive too fast on the highway. Maybe they think they're following the speed limit because everybody else is traveling at the same speed. But as a defensive driver, you must check your speedometer to make sure you're not going faster than the speed limit.

Some drivers drive for long distances on the highway and become hypnotized by the road. They stare at the center line and might even fall asleep. To avoid highway hypnosis, keep your eyes moving at all times.

Trucks on the roadway often travel more slowly than other vehicles on the road because they're pulling a heavy load. Trucks often leave a larger gap between themselves and the vehicle in front of them because they require about four times the stopping distance than that of a car. This is called a space cushion. Some drivers mistake that space cushion for an opportunity to get in front of the truck. This is not defensive driving; if the truck driver doesn't have enough room to stop and hits the much smaller car, tragedy could result. Don't ever cut in front of a truck.

Blind Spots

Some drivers don't realize that all vehicles have blind spots. A blind spot is when you look in your mirror or over your shoulder and for a brief second no one is there. All of a sudden, a car or truck appears alongside you, like magic! The vehicle was there all the time; it was just in your blind spot. Trucks have larger blind spots than cars because they're four times longer. Try to avoid driving alongside a truck if you can help it. If you're next to a truck, slow down or speed up to get out of the blind spot, which is the entire side of the truck.

Country Roads

One difference between driving on the highway and on the open road (in the country) is that the roadways are not well lit. As a result, when you're coming up to a curve or going around curves, they're hard to see. You can't see there is no shoulder on the side of the road. You can't see the signs until the very last minute.

Country roads have different obstacles that we don't see in everyday driving, such as farm equipment crossing the road, tractors driving slowly, and maybe even deer jumping out in front of your car. There are stands on the side of the road, selling peaches and apples, and country stores and little mom-and-pop gas stations. People are pulling in and out of these places. You really need to pay close attention. If it's dark, use your high beams when there is no oncoming traffic within 500 feet and you're not following another car within 350 feet.

Country roads are often not well-maintained. There are more potholes on these roads that you cannot see. Dirt, oil and fuel accumulates on the surface of the road, increasing your chances of skidding or hydroplaning, especially during the first half hour of a rainfall. The mixture of the rain and these fragments makes it very slippery when driving. So be careful during the first half hour to an hour of rainfall. Try to avoid driving during these periods.

It's harder to have an escape route on a country road. Most country roads are narrow, two-lane roads without a shoulder. If someone crosses over into your lane and is about to hit you, where do you go? On a highway and on most city streets you have more lanes. You could escape. On country roads there might not be a convenient escape route.


Country roads are often narrow and hilly. If you're driving on a two-lane road in the country going uphill and a car is coming at you going downhill, who has the right of way? The car going uphill has the right of way. The reason is when you're going uphill, you need momentum to climb the hill. If you stop on the hill, it's extremely hard to build up momentum again to continue climbing the hill. If you're going downhill, you just have to apply the brakes to stop, and release them to start going again.

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