Hatched Road Markings – What Do They Mean?

Don L. Gates

Modern roads seem to have more and more markings, and they seem to be in an increasingly large range of colours. But what do the ‘hatched’ road markings mean?

Hatched markings are an area of stripes painted across the road, usually painted in white. Their function is to separate streams of traffic; particularly those approaching from opposite directions. In places where a traffic island would not be appropriate, the hatched markings act as a virtual island to keep drivers apart.

Can You Drive Through Hatched Markings?

It depends on the design. Where an area of hatched marking has a solid white border, then no; you MUST not drive into the area unless this is unavoidable in an emergency situation. When the border is broken however, then you may drive through the markings providing you can see that is it safe to do so. But when would this be an advantage?

Areas of hatched markings are often used to protect drivers who are waiting to turn right at a busy crossroads. There will be an area of diagonal lines followed by a designated right turn area, usually marked with a right turn arrow. In this situation, it makes sense to drive through the lines if it means you can take up your position to turn right without causing following traffic to needlessly slow down.

Similarly, if there are drivers queuing to go straight on at a junction; you need not wait behind them. You can go through the hatched lines to take up your right turn position.

Can You Overtake on Hatched Markings?

Yes you can; providing the line around them is broken, and you have a clear view of the road ahead. Under no circumstances should you enter the markings to overtake however, if you are not 100% certain what lies ahead.

What do hatched markings mean when the middle is coloured red? Their meaning is just the same. The red area is to increase your awareness of the potential for danger, or it may just be a textured ‘anti-skid’ surface. But providing the border is broken and you are sure it is safe, then you can drive through them to overtake.

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