Use of Lanes

White lines painted on the pavement indicate traffic going in your direction (such as one-way streets).

Yellow lines mark the center of a two-way road used for two-way traffic. You may pass on a two-way road if the yellow center line is broken. When a solid and a broken yellow line are together, you must not pass if you are driving next to the solid line. Two solid yellow lines mean "no passing." Never drive to the left of these lines. Stay on your side of the road. Exceptions:

• When turning left at an intersection or into or out of a private road or driveway.

• When the right half of the road is closed or blocked.

• Some carpool lanes. Enter and exit at designated places only.

Lanes For Through Traffic







(1) Solid yellow line: No passing when solid yellow line is on your side.
(2) Double solid lines: No vehicle may pass.
(3) Broken yellow line: May pass if movement can be made in safely.

Many roads have two or more lanes going in your direction. These lanes are separated by broken white lines. You must choose which lane to use. Drive in the lane that has the smoothest flow of traffic.

If you can choose among three lanes on your side of the road, pick the middle lane for the smoothest driving. If you want to go faster, pass, or turn left, use the left lane. When you drive slowly, enter, or turn off the road, use the right lane.

If only two lanes go in your direction, pick the right lane for the smoothest driving.

Don't Weave—stay in one traffic lane as much as possible. Before changing lanes, check your mirrors for vehicles that may be ready to pass you; also turn your head and CHECK BESIDE YOUR VEHICLE to see if any vehicle, such as a motorcycle, is in your blind spot and to be sure there is enough room for your vehicle in the next lane.

Once you start through an intersection, keep going. If you start to make a turn, follow through. Last second changes may cause accidents. If you missed a turn, continue to the next intersection and work your way back to where you want to go.

Lanes For Turning

Below are some rules to help you when turning at a street corner.

Left Turn: Get close to the center divider line or into the left turn lane (if there is one). When turning left, don't turn too soon and "cut the corner" of the lane belonging to cars coming toward you.

How to make a left turn on a two way street

How to make a left turn on a two way street

About 100 feet from corner:
• Begin signalling
• Reduce speed

• Look left, then right, then left again.
• If safe, make turn.

Right Turn: If you are turning right, get close to the right edge of the road (watch for bicycles or motorcycles between your car and the curb). On a right turn, don't turn wide. Stay in the right lane until you have finished your turn.

How to make a right turn

How to make a right turn

• Begin signalling
• Look over right shoulder
• Move as close to the right curb as
possible—OK to enter bicycle lane if
it is safe.

(2) About 100 feet from corner, reduce speed.

Look both ways.

(4) Turn into right lane.

Bicycle Lanes

A bicycle lane is shown by a solid white line along either side of the street, four or more feet from the curb. This line will usually be a broken line near the corner. The words "BIKE LANE" are painted at various locations in this lane. Don't drive in a bike lane unless you are making a right turn at a corner or other entrance, such as a driveway. Then drive your vehicle into the bike lane no more than 200 feet from the entrance or corner before your turn. Watch for bikes before entering the bike lane. You may park in the bike lane unless signs say "NO PARKING."

Pedestrians are not allowed in bike lanes when there are sidewalks. Drivers of motorized bicycles should use bike lanes carefully to avoid accidents with bicycle riders.

Safety Zones

Don't drive through a safety zone. This is a space set aside for pedestrians. It is marked by raised buttons or markers on the road. You will most often see safety zones in areas where there are street cars or trolleys using the same streets as vehicle traffic, such as in San Francisco.


Never drive on a sidewalk unless you are crossing a sidewalk to enter or leave a driveway or alley. When crossing a sidewalk, stop for any pedestrian.

Lanes For Passing

Never drive off the paved or main-travelled portion of the road or on the shoulder to pass. You will know the edge of the main-travelled portion of the road by the white line painted on the road surface. When you want to pass a vehicle or bicycle going in your direction, pass on the left. In a narrow traffic lane, wait until the traffic is clear in the opposite lane before passing a bicyclist. Then change lanes. Do not squeeze past the bicyclist.

Pass on the right only:

• If an open highway is clearly marked for two or more lanes of vehicles moving in your direction of travel.

• If the driver of the other vehicle is making a left turn. Never drive off the road or pass to the left of a driver who is signaling a left turn. (Be careful. Sometimes drivers use the wrong turn signal.)

Don't honk when you pass on the right. The other driver may think you are on the left and "pull over" right into you.

If you need to move into another lane, move only after you have finished a turn you want to make and when traffic is clear.

Carpool Lanes And Controlled On-Ramps

Carpooling and bus riding are useful ways to save fuel and reduce the number of vehicles using highways in heavy commute traffic.

Some freeways have special lanes and on-ramps for carpools. You may use a CARPOOL if your vehicle carries a minimum of 2 or 3 people, including the driver, or you drive a low-emission vehicle that displays a special decal issued by DMV (the passenger restriction does not apply).

Signs at the on-ramp or along the freeway tell you the size of the carpool (number of people) needed to use that lane and the days and hours that the requirement applies. The pavement of these lanes is marked with the diamond symbol and the words “CARPOOL LANE.” Do not cross over the double parallel solid lines to enter or exit any carpool lane except at designated entry or exit places.

Some freeways may have a special lane for buses only, or buses and carpools. This lane is also marked by the diamond symbol. Unless otherwise posted, motorcycle riders may use designated carpool lanes.

Vehicles towing trailers are typically not allowed to use a carpool lane because they are restricted to the right-hand lane.

Carpool lane

Special Lanes

In high density traffic areas, you may sometimes see an entire street, or a few traffic lanes on a street, marked with cones. The cones indicate that a lane or street is being used differently. 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.