Traffic signs and line markings

All you need to know

Traffic signs and line markings on roads are to provide information to road users about what they can and can’t do.
Here are the most important rules in a nutshell.

Dividing lines

Drivers must keep to the left of dividing lines painted in the centre of the road, whether they are dashed or solid lines.  A summary of the rules for each type of line marking dividing opposing traffic is shown below.

Broken/dashed white dividing lines

You must drive to the left of the broken line. You can cross this line to:

  • overtake,
  • make a u-turn (unless otherwise prohibited),
  • enter or leave the road,
  • enter a part of the road from another park of the road (for example moving to or from a service road or emergency stopping lane),
  • park in angle parking on the opposite side of the road provided the driver does not need to perform a u-turn, or 
  • avoid an obstruction provided the driver has a clear view of approaching traffic and it is necessary and reasonable to cross the line and can be done so safely. The driver must take into account the hazard of driving to the right of a line when deciding what is reasonable. See obstructions.
     
Dashed dividing line

Single continuous dividing lines

You must drive to the left of the solid line. You can cross this line to:

  • enter or leave the road,
  • enter a part of the road from another park of the road (for example moving to or from a service road or emergency stopping lane),
  • park in angle parking on the opposite side of the road provided the driver does not need to perform a u-turn, or
  • avoid an obstruction provided the driver has a clear view of approaching traffic and it is necessary and reasonable to cross the line and can be done so safely. The driver must take into account the hazard of driving to the right of a line when deciding what is reasonable. See obstructions.

You cannot overtake or make a u-turn across a single continuous dividing line. You also cannot park opposite the line unless you can leave at least three metres between your vehicle and the line, or signs allow parking. See parking opposite dividing lines.

Single continuous dividing line

A broken line to the left of a continuous line

You must drive to the left of the broken line. You can cross the line to:

  • overtake,
  • make a u-turn (unless otherwise prohibited),
  • enter or leave the road,
  • enter a part of the road from another park of the road (for example moving to or from a service road or emergency stopping lane),
  • park in angle parking on the opposite side of the road provided the driver does not need to perform a u-turn, or
  • avoid an obstruction provided the driver has a clear view of approaching traffic and it is necessary and reasonable to cross the line and can be done so safely. The driver must take into account the hazard of driving to the right of a line when deciding what is reasonable. See obstructions.
     
A broken line to the left of a continuous line

A broken line to the right of a continuous line

You must drive to the left of the continuous line. You can cross these lines to:

  • enter or leave the road,
  • enter a part of the road from another park of the road (for example moving to or from a service road or emergency stopping lane),
  • park in angle parking on the opposite side of the road provided the driver does not need to perform a u-turn,
  • avoid an obstruction provided the driver has a clear view of approaching traffic and it is necessary and reasonable to cross the line and can be done so safely. The driver must take into account the hazard of driving to the right of a line when deciding what is reasonable. See obstructions.

You cannot overtake or make a u-turn across a broken line to the right of a continuous line. You also cannot park opposite the dividing line unless there is at least three metres between your vehicle and the dividing line or there is a parking sign saying that parking is allowed. See parking opposite dividing lines.

A broken line to the right of a continuous line

Double continuous dividing lines

You must drive to the left of the left-hand continuous line. You are not allowed cross over double continuous dividing lines, unless you have to avoid an obstruction and provided the driver has a clear view of approaching traffic and it is necessary and reasonable to cross the line and can be done so safely. The driver must take into account the hazard of driving to the right of a line when deciding what is reasonable. See obstructions.

You also cannot park opposite the dividing line unless there is at least three metres between your vehicle and the dividing line or there is a parking sign saying that parking is allowed. See parking opposite dividing lines.


 



Double continuous dividing lines

Double parallel broken dividing lines

You must drive to the left of the left-hand broken line. You can cross these lines to:

  • enter or leave the road,
  • enter a part of the road from another park of the road (for example moving to or from a service road or emergency stopping lane),
  • park in angle parking on the opposite side of the road provided the driver does not need to perform a u-turn,
  • overtake,
  • make a u-turn (unless otherwise prohibited), or
  • avoid an obstruction provided the driver has a clear view of approaching traffic and it is necessary and reasonable to cross the line and can be done so safely. The driver must take into account the hazard of driving to the right of a line when deciding what is reasonable. See obstructions.

For more information see the Victorian Road Safety Road Rules rules 132, 134 and 139.

 

Double parallel broken dividing lines

Keep Clear markings

Keep Clear markings are legally enforceable and drivers must not stop on an area of road with these markings.

For more information see the Victorian Road Safety Road Rules rule 96.

Lane arrows

Traffic lane arrows must be obeyed whether they are at signalised intersections, roundabouts or elsewhere. Drivers at an intersection (with or without signals) in a lane marked with turning arrows must turn according to the arrows at that intersection.

An exception is that drivers may make U-turns from lanes marked with right turn arrows unless prohibited by signs.

For more information see the Victorian Road Safety Road Rules rule 92.

Lane arrows

Lane lines

A driver must not change lanes over a single continuous lane line, including those approaching traffic signals. Continuous lines along a lane are to prevent drivers from changing lanes. The Rules do outline exceptions, which include such situations as:

  • avoiding an obstruction;
  • obeying a traffic control device on the lane they are moving from;
  • there is a special purpose lane (bus, bicycle lane etc) the driver is permitted to drive in and they are moving to or from this lane – including part-time lanes; and
  • the driver is permitted to drive in both lanes because of another rule.
Lane lines

For more information see the Victorian Road Safety Road Rules rules 147 and 148.

At some locations such as on freeways, long lines with short gaps are used. Due to the repeated nature of the lines and breaks these are considered to be broken lines. The use of these line markings is to discourage unnecessary lane changes.

Merging

For information on the two different types of merges and what the line marking differences mean, see the section merging.

No right-turn and no u-turn

A no-u-turn signs means a driver may turn right, if possible, at that location, but must not make a u-turn.

A no right-turn sign means a driver must not turn right or make a u-turn at that location.

For more information see the Victorian Road Safety Road Rules rule 39-41 and 91.

Painted islands

Drivers must not drive over a painted island surrounded by a single continuous line unless entering or leaving the road, entering a turning lane that begins immediately after the painted island, to enter a part of the road of one kind from a part of the road of another kind; or to access angle parking on the opposite side of the road.

A driver must not drive over a painted island at a freeway on-ramp or slip lane.

For more information see the Victorian Road Safety Road Rules rule 138.

Painted islands

Special purpose lanes

The rules for special purpose lanes including bike lanes, bus lanes, transit lanes and tram lanes are explained in the section on special purpose lanes.

 

Stop and Give Way lines

Stop lines (solid lines painted across the traffic lane and not part of Keep Clear markings or pedestrian cross walks) and Give Way lines (broken lines painted across the traffic lane and not part of Keep Clear markings or pedestrian cross walks) have the same meaning as the signs themselves when not located at a signalised intersection where there are twin red flashing lights, a level crossing or a children's crossing. For example, drivers approaching a Stop line must stop and give way, including those at the exit from a car park to a road. Drivers approaching a Give Way line must give way.

For more information see the Victorian Road Safety Road Rules rules 67, 68 and 69.