In British Columbia, it’s not rare to be confused by lane change driving laws. Often, the rules here are extremely contradictory and counter-intuitive. And this can naturally lead to serious accidents and messy legal claims. Moreover, BC citizens can get “caught between the lines” of justice, so to speak.
To aid you in avoiding lane change related accidents — or wading your way through an accident that’s already happened — we’ve organized some of the key lane change laws in BC that you should be aware of.
The Color of Lines Is Important
In British Columbia, there are two colors used for road lines. First, there’s white. These lines denote lanes that are all headed in the same direction. Yellow lines, on the other hand, tell you that you’re driving on a two-way street (two opposite directions of traffic).
Broken or Solid Line? It Matters
These are the rules for broken vs. solid lines:
- Solid white line: You should not cross this line to pass the car ahead of you.
- Broken white line: Use caution, but it should be safe to cross or change lanes.
- Solid yellow line: You can cross to pass a car ahead of you, but you must use extra caution.
- Broken yellow line: It should be safe to cross in order to pass (still, use caution).
- Double yellow lines with one solid, one broken: You may, safely and with caution, cross to pass on the side with the broken line, but on the other side, you should not cross to pass.
- Solid double yellow lines: Here’s where it gets tricky. You cannot cross these lines at all to pass. The confusing thing is that you may not even be able to cross if there is an obstruction in the road! More on this below.
Crossing Solid Double Yellow Lines
There is conflicting literature in ICBC’s Learn to Drive Smart Manual on whether or not drivers can legally cross a solid double yellow line. According to the manual, the only time you can cross this type of line is when you are leaving or entering a road (highway), but only if doing so does not unreasonably affect the travel of another vehicle. In fact, even when there is an obstruction in the road, such as an animal or debris, subsection 155 (a) states that drivers must keep right of the solid line. On the other hand, Section 155 (2) states that if a driver “first ascertains that the movement can be made with safety and without affecting the travel of any other vehicle,” they may cross the line.
Laws like these are often what trip drivers up, cause serious accidents, and create messy claims that can last for months. ICBC may very well argue that it was your fault that you changed lanes and got into an accident. In these situations, it’s best to consult with a lawyer for assistance.
Have you been in a lane change accident in British Columbia?
Warnett Hallen LLP are leading personal injury and car accident lawyers in British Columbia. We understand the stress and worry that can accompany getting into a car accident, and we want to help. Not only will we provide you with legal support and advice, but we will also support you and work closely with you to make your recovery and injury claim as pain- and stress-free as possible. Our services are available in a number of different languages.
For more information about the legal services Warnett Hallen LLP can provide or to schedule your free consultation with one of our experienced and knowledgeable lawyers today, please contact us.