The meaning of road markings

Publicado el 22/02/2019
Marcas viales de tráfico

When you’re driving on any road there are always basic signals that you must take into account, road markings. These markings painted on the asphalt regulate basic traffic on any road and also when higher priority signs are missing.

Road markings and their importance

Road markings or horizontal signing have the following characteristics:

  • They mark the lanes and define the two directions of traffic.
  • They help to utilise the whole road.
  • They warn and help drivers with information about the road.
  • They manage traffic and complement other signs.
  • They establish areas of the road reserved for traffic and those that are free of vehicles.

The meaning of road markings

Take note of the meanings of the most common:

White longitudinal markings

  • Solid longitudinal

These markings mean that you cannot ever cross them, or drive over this marking, or drive on the left side of this line. Two solid lines have the same meaning. A thicker solid line means a special lane.

  • Broken longitudinal

They separate the lanes and vehicles, you cannot cross them unless it is absolutely necessary. These lines also indicate that a solid line is coming up or they may mean the presence of a special lane.

  • Double broken longitudinal

These are two broken lines that mark the width of the lane and tell you that traffic is reversible.

  • Solid longitudinal markings changing to a broken marking

You just have to follow the line that falls on your side. These lines can separate lanes of oncoming traffic.

  • Guidance markings at intersections

They tell you how to make a manoeuvre when you reach an intersection.

White hatched markings

  • Solid hatched

They cross over several lanes and force you to stop because there is a vertical stop sign, a traffic light, or a pedestrian crossing.

  • Broken hatched

They cross over several lanes, forcing you to give way.

  • Pedestrian crossing markings

These are several thick lines painted parallel to the road axis and tell you that there is a pedestrian crossing.
The latest pedestrian crossing markings are painted with two parallel and broken hatched lines.

  • Bicycle crossing markings

These are two parallel and broken hatched lines that mark a bicycle crossing.

Horizontal road markings

  • Give way

This is a triangle painted on the road that indicates the obligation to give way.

  • Stop

This means that you must stop the vehicle in front of the stop line or if the line is not there, in front of the road.

  • Speed limit markings

You cannot go over the speed painted on the road, if the lane is marked by lines, the speed limit applies to just this lane.

  • Lane selection arrows

This is a lane marked by lines, the arrows indicate the direction you must follow or the possibility of changing lanes.

  • Exit arrow

Marks the point where you can leave the lane and the direction you can choose.

  • End of lane arrow

Indicates that the lane is ending, and you must follow its direction.

  • Return arrow

Painted on the axis of the road indicating the arrival of a solid line and the obligation to drive in the right-hand lane.

Other white markings

  • Fork

Indicates the point where you can exit via a fork in the road.

  • Level crossing

A large white cross with letters P and N in big on the sides.

  • Reserved area

Marks the space where you can park, or a lane used for special vehicles.

  • Start of reserved lane

Indicates the point where a lane starts for special vehicles.

  • Bicycle lane

Marks a lane for bicycles.

  • Parking

Limits the area where you can park and the direction you must park in.

  • Zebra

Group of very thick parallel slanted lines within a space marked by a solid line which you cannot pass.

  • Roadside marking

Marks the outer edge of the road.

  • Other markings

Different types of markings that provide you with information about the road.

Markings in other colours

  • Yellow markings in zig-zag

Mark the areas where you cannot park.

  • Solid yellow line

At the roadside edge indicating that you cannot park along it.

  • Broken yellow line

Painted on the roadside indicating that you cannot park along it or on the same side as it.

  • Grid of yellow lines

Marks an area where you cannot cross if you’re at risk of coming to a stop.

  • Blue lines

Establishes an area where you can park for a limited time.

  • Red and white grid

Red and white grid that establishes an emergency stop area, you cannot stop or park here.

Road markings regulate basic traffic and in terms of priority they are the last behind officers, beacons, traffic lights and vertical signs. If there is any conflict between signs, the most restrictive one is imposed.

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