January 3, 2011

Pavement Markings – NEWS FOR YOU… from the Iowa Department of Transportation

By Debra Carney
Driver’s License Supervisor
Driver’s License Services office
Davenport, IA

Pavement markings have come a long way. In 1926 Iowa began painting a center black line on every mile of primary road pavement as a reminder that vehicles should be on the right hand side of the road. In 1954 the continuous black center line was replaced with a dashed white-relfectorized line and yellow no passing lines on all heavily traveled roads.

Since that time pavement markings as well as traffic control signs have become standardized throughout the United States. Markings can be yellow, white, red or blue.

• Yellow lines indicate separate lanes of traffic moving in the opposite direction or can be used to mark the left edge of one-way roadways. Drivers should stay to the right of yellow lines.
• White lines indicate separate lanes of traffic moving in the same direction or they can be used to mark the right edge of pavement.
• Red markings are used to indicate roadways that shall not be entered or used.
• Blue markings designate parking for persons with disabilities.

Also, the type of marking, such as dotted, broken, solid or doubled, are utilized to further guide traffic.

• Dotted lines indicate guidance, such as white dotted lines to guide you through intersections when making left turns.
• Broken lines are permissive, such as broken yellow lines, which indicate passing is allowed.
• Solid lines are restrictive. Solid yellow lines indicate no passing.
• Double lines indicate maximum emphasis or restriction. A double white line indicates lanes changes are prohibited or a double yellow shows passing is prohibited from either direction.
• The width of the line indicates increases emphasis, such as that used as a stop line.

Pavement markings may also include words, arrows or symbols that supplement messages posted on signs. STOP AHEAD, RXR, BIKE LANE are a few more common markings.

For more information about pavement markings and signs please visit your local Driver’s License station for a current manual or find it on the web at: http://www.iowadot.gov/mvd/ods/dlmanual.htm

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