Ask A Trooper: How does the ‘hands-free’ law affect drivers under 18?

Question: In my city, there is a double yellow line on the main roadway, and yet some motorists cross both lines to park against oncoming traffic, many at dark with headlights on. Why is this allowed without warning or a ticket?

Answer: A crash can occur anytime a driver chooses to cross over a solid or double solid yellow/white line. Engineers and safety personnel place these lane markers in areas where it’s unsafe to pass.

Law enforcement take this type of violation very seriously, and we will educate the driver with enforcement action. If you are cited for this violation, it will go on your driving record and cost you out-of-pocket expenses for the fine and the possibility of increased insurance costs.

When a driver crosses into the other lane of traffic, against a double yellow/white line a head-on type of crash could result in injury or death.

What’s the Law?

White lines separate lanes of traffic traveling in the same direction.

· A white line with dashes indicates that drivers can change lanes.

· A line of shorter and thicker white dashes indicates that the lane will end.

· A solid white line indicates that lane changes are discouraged. Solid white lines also mark cross-walks, stop-lines at intersections, parking stalls, and the edges of a roadway.

· Double solid white lines indicate that lane changes are against the law.

· A solid white line with a bicycle insignia along the side of the road indicates an area designated for bicycle traffic only. Bicycles must travel in the same direction as adjacent traffic.

Yellow lines separate traffic moving in opposite directions.

· A solid yellow line indicates that passing is prohibited. Passing in a no-passing zone is illegal.

· A line composed of yellow dashes indicates that passing is allowed.

· A solid yellow line may appear on one-side of the roadway, while a line composed of dashes appears on the other. Drivers must obey the marking that is present in their lane of traffic.

· Two solid yellow lines, one in each lane of traffic, indicate that passing is prohibited in both directions. Drivers traveling in both directions are prohibited from crossing the double solid center line in order to pass other vehicles.

Please obey the speed limits and passing zones. If the roadway is covered with snow, slow down and look for the no passing signs, and do your best to determine where the lanes are marked.

Sgt. Neil Dickenson is Minnesota State Patrol Public Information Officer for the state’s northeast region. Send questions concerning traffic-related laws or issues to or by mail to Minnesota State Patrol, 1131 Mesaba Ave., Duluth MN 55811. Follow Dickenson

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