Road markings Lessons Note

Road markings provide guidance and information to drivers and pedestrians.

Lane markings

Lane markings indicate how and where you must travel. There are 4 main types:

  • Dividing lines
  • Lane lines
  • Edge lines
  • Arrows

Dividing lines

Dividing lines are used to separate vehicles travelling in opposite directions. You’re always allowed to cross a dividing line to safely pass a cyclist or avoid an obstruction (e.g. a broken down car).

Single broken line

You’re allowed to cross a single broken line to enter/leave a road, make a U-turn or to overtake. Entering/leaving a road refers to turning into/from private property or another road.

Single continuous line

You’re only allowed to cross a single continuous line to enter/leave a road or to safely pass an obstruction or cyclist. You must not make a U-turn or overtake across the continuous line.

Double dividing lines

There are 3 different combinations of double dividing lines. We'll go through each combination below.

When the broken line is closer to you

The same rules apply as for single broken dividing lines. You’re allowed to cross to enter/leave a road, make a U-turn or overtake.

When the continuous line is closer to you

The same rules apply as for single continuous lines. You’re allowed to cross to enter/leave a road or to pass an obstruction or cyclist. You must not make a U-turn or overtake across the continuous line.

Two continuous lines

You are NOT allowed to cross unless safely passing a cyclist or avoiding an obstruction.

Situations when U-turns are prohibited

You are NOT allowed to make a U-turn across a single continuous line or double continuous lines (unless the line closest to you is broken).

Lane lines (e.g. at multi-lane roads)

Lane lines separate vehicles going in the same direction

Lane lines are usually continuous near controlled situations (e.g. traffic lights and STOP signs) and broken in other situations. Always keep your vehicle entirely between the lane lines.

Broken white lines separating lanes in the same direction

You may change lanes or overtake if safe. Signal in advance and give way to vehicles that are already in the lane.

Continuous white line separating lanes in the same direction

Don’t cross unless avoiding an obstruction or cyclist. It may be permitted if signed or allowed in a special purpose lane.

Edge lines

Edge lines can be broken or continuous, and serve the purpose of keeping traffic off soft road edges and breakdown lanes

Edge lines make it easier to position your car, as they mark the edge of the road. The area left of the edge line is called ‘road shoulder’.

You can drive on, across or outside continuous edge lines if:

  • driving a slow-moving vehicle (e.g. a tractor)
  • driving a vehicle that does not fit in the marked lane (e.g. too wide or long)
  • overtaking vehicles indicating a right turn
  • overtaking vehicles making a U-turn from the centre of the road
  • avoiding an obstruction

Additionally, you may drive on a continuous white edge line for up to 100m:

  • when entering/leaving a road
  • when stopping at the roadside
  • when you are turning at an intersection

Some edge lines are painted in a way that creates vibration or noise when driven on to warn drivers that veer over the line. They are called “audible” edge lines.

Broken yellow edge line

This line is a CLEARWAY line. If not an emergency, you must not stop at the edge of the road during the indicated hours.

Continuous yellow edge line

This line indicates NO STOPPING. Do not stop at the edge of the road unless an emergency.


If marked arrows exist, you must only drive in the direction indicated by the arrows. When turning, you should stay in the same lane as you move from one road to the other.

Arrows may have more than one direction:

  • one direction - only drive in that direction
  • two direction - you may drive in either direction

How should you place your vehicle on the road?

When driving on any two-way road, you should drive as close to the left as is practical and safe, and always keep within the lane markings. You should also drive as far left as practical on roads where there are no marked lanes.

It’s especially important to drive to the left when nearing a hill as there is a higher risk of colliding with oncoming traffic in these situations.

Keeping to the left

On a multi-lane road that has a speed limit of over 80 km/h, you can face a fine if you drive in the far right lane unless:

  • overtaking a vehicle
  • permitted by signs
  • avoiding obstacles
  • driving in congested traffic
  • turning right or making a U-turn

The same applies to roads where there is a ‘Keep left unless overtaking’ sign.

Painted traffic islands

Car B is allowed to travel on the painted island prior to making a turn, but must give way to car A entering the turning lane

Painted traffic islands protect turning vehicles by allowing them to safely wait for a gap in oncoming traffic:

  • You can drive on a traffic island surrounded by a broken or signle continuous line for up to 50m to enter a turning lane beginning immediately after the painted island, to enter/leave the road or to angle park on the other side of the road.
  • Don't drive over a traffic island outlined by double continous lines unless required (e.g. an obstruction forces you to)
  • You must not stop on a painted island
  • While travelling on a traffic island prior to a right turn lane, you must give way to other vehicles on or about to enter the turning lane.
Don't drive on the painted island next to a freeway ramp

You shouldn’t drive on a painted island outlined by a continuous line separating traffic travelling in the same direction (e.g. freeway ramp).

Dragon’s teeth

Dragon’s teeth are painted road markings at school areas. They exist to help motorists know that they are entering a 40 km/h school area, and provide a constant reminder to maintain a reduced speed.


When the lane you’re in ends, you must merge. There are two situations:

If the broken line ends before the lanes merge (i.e. no marked lines) the trailing vehicle must give way to the vehicle ahead irrespective of the lane. In short, you have to give way to vehicles that have any part ahead of you. This is called zip merging.

Vehicle A must give way to vehicle B

If the broken line continues until the lanes merge, you are changing lanes and hence the vehicle in the lane that ends must give way to traffic in the other lane.

Vehicle B must give way to vehicle A

When merging, indicate your intentions clearly to avoid confusion.

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