Q: What is the law regarding left turns across double yellow lines?
To get into work, most people at my company turn left across double yellow solid lines, which to my knowledge is illegal. Is it illegal at all times, or is it allowed when “it is safe to do so”? I’ve heard different accounts from different people.
A: It may be legal to cross a double yellow line, but it depends on the street.
Trooper Julie Startup said she’s never seen a problem if people are crossing over a double yellow to turn into an alley, private road or driveway.
That’s detailed in subsection 3 of section 46.61.130 in the Revised Code of Washington.
“But there may be a problem if people are not turning into something,” Startup said. “Technically in that case you’re not allowed to turn over a double yellow line.
“The double yellow line indicates designated no-passing zones that have reduced visibility or any other safety concern for drives that would be cause an increased danger if passing. Intersections would most likely be marked with breaks in the double yellow but private roads, driveways and alleys would be instances where a driver could turn over the double yellow.
“This is still a no passing zone for safety reasons and drivers should only make the turns when safe to do so.”
The full RCW regarding no-passing zones is below.
(1) The state department of transportation and the local authorities are authorized to determine those portions of any highway under their respective jurisdictions where overtaking and passing or driving to the left of the roadway would be especially hazardous and may by appropriate signs or markings on the roadway indicate the beginning and end of such zones. When such signs or markings are in place and clearly visible to an ordinarily observant person every driver of a vehicle shall obey the directions thereof.
(2) Where signs or markings are in place to define a no-passing zone as set forth in subsection (1) of this section, no driver may at any time drive on the left side of the roadway within the no-passing zone or on the left side of any pavement striping designed to mark the no-passing zone throughout its length.
(3) This section does not apply under the conditions described in RCW 46.61.100 (1)(b), nor to the driver of a vehicle turning left into or from an alley, private road, or driveway.