Double-yellow-line fever

Double yellow line

Sometimes it’s the oddest things that catch you off-guard about life in the country. One thing that I have had trouble getting used to since our move to Queensborough is the frequency with which drivers on the local highways will pass under what I consider dangerous (not to mention illegal) circumstances: when there is a double yellow line in the middle of the road.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking: “Ah, she’s one of those slowpoke drivers, never goes over the speed limit – and she wonders why people are desperate to pass?”

People, nothing could be further from the truth. I am in fact a pretty speedy driver as a rule, and I’ve got some impressive speeding tickets in my (fortunately fairly distant) past to prove it. If anyone’s poking along in front of me, you can be sure I will pass if at all possible.

But I would never risk passing on a double yellow line, and I still can’t quite believe my eyes when people around here do it. Just this afternoon, driving north on Highway 62 from my work in Belleville, a driver passed me (and I was doing above the speed limit) on a double line as we were going up a hill and were, in fact, alarmingly close to the crest over which an oncoming vehicle could very easily have been coming. And this same driver then proceeded to pass some other vehicles on a double yellow line.What gives?

I have been driving for a lot of years, on many different kinds of roads, rural and urban, in several different countries. And never have I seen so much illegal passing as I have in the five months since I became a full-time Hastings County resident.

Can anyone enlighten me as to why this happens?



16 thoughts on “Double-yellow-line fever

  1. I agree with you on the extra vigilence recommended by the double yellow line, but apparently it’s not illegal to pass on one, at least according to a friend of ours who claims to have researched the question several years ago. I have never verified this myself, so would be interested to learn if anyone else knows for sure.

    • Indeed, it is not illegal to pass on solid lines but guess what happens if one gets into an accident after having done so?

      In almost 3 decades of driving both hwy 62 & 37, I find that passing on a solid center line occurs far, far less frequently on hwy 37 [as well, the traffic is less congested and the drivers more disciplined]. So, for safety reasons, I recommend that Kathy seriously consider using hwy 37 instead of 62 for her daily commutes…it is only an extra 2 km longer between Queensborough & Belleville. [Sounding like a broken record, I’ve mentioned this before at

      • Yes, I know you’ve made that recommendation before, Graham, and I appreciate it! And in bad weather I do usually take 37. I kind of like the scenery on 62 a bit more, and it’s a little bit shorter (about six kilometres, I think), so I do tend to make it my fallback.

    • Yes, Brenda, so it would (i.e. it not being illegal to pass on a double yellow line) from the link to the Ontario Drivers’ Handbook that Dave found (see next comment). At least, it doesn’t say it’s illegal. It does say it’s unsafe, though. Well, duh.

      • Very rarely, when caught behind someone on Hwy 62 who is determined to drive at 79 km/hr, I have passed on the double yellow (and as you and I know and everyone else who drives between Madoc and Belleville knows, the good passing places are few). Even though I only do it when I have a completely free and clear path, and I know it’s not illegal, I still feel a twinge of guilt and that little fear that one of our good OPP officers might ‘catch’ me (brought up to be a rule follower, me). But, man! – aren’t there quite a few drivers who are determined to drive exactly at or just below the posted limit, no matter how light the traffic or how favourable the driving conditions?!?

      • Well, there are a fair number of slowpokes out there, I have to grant you that, Brenda. And you’re so right when you point out that there aren’t many places to pass on 62 – or at least, not as many as we slightly speedy types would like. I’ve got a bit more zen about driving as I’ve got older, though, and if I’m stuck behind a slow driver and can’t pass, I try to take it in stride rather than stress about it. Raymond, on the other hand…

  2. I can´t stand people who treat a simple painted line like its a 10-foot high brick wall. (I live in the city). If the situation warrants, and if its safe to do so, go around the vehicle in front of you. Why be so pedantic ?

    • Well, but I would say it’s not particularly safe to pass the vehicle in front of you when you are both nearing the crest of a hill, Mark – which is the kind of thing that has happened to me several times while driving in this area. (Unless, of course, the passing driver has much better-developed ESP as to whether there’s a car coming over the hill in the other direction than I have ever been able to muster in myself.) As I said, I like to make good time on the road as much as anyone, but I do feel that the transportation-ministry people who decide when painting the dotted or solid lines which stretches of road are safe to pass on and which are not seem to have their heads screwed on right.

      • forgive me, not my most thoughtful or sensitive post. and you are correct that there´s a big difference between city and rural driving. my comment was more about the urban context where people seem to be oblivious thats its just paint on the pavement, and where the possibility of imminent danger is nothing like you might find in the country setting.

        i would largely agree about line paintings being astutely administered, though I´ve also seen some real headscratchers in this dept too, not to mention speed limits that defied logic or seemed completely incongruent with other similar roads or streets. safety, always …..

      • Mark, I suspect that when it comes to city driving you are very much like my husband, Raymond. He gets very impatient with all the stupid drivers doing stupid things (at least, according to him) and slowing down his progress from Point A to Point B. I have to say one of the joys of living in a rural area is being mercifully free of stoplights and traffic jams and other frustrations of getting around the city!

  3. IY’all: i thin it is just a north of seven thing. Us natives figger that rules is jist fesr city folks. P.S.Tell Raymond we have been through Lowell Mass today on our way to Fredericton and we beeped to all the Brassards, Bonjour!.

  4. Now this is a subject I always get my self in trouble over. I can’t even comment on the practices of the road with other motor vehicles or I’ll just get myself started on road rage. Which I as a professional driver am trained and sign my life away to never retaliate at all cost. But whether who is right or wrong there is one things that our Ministry of Transportation should insist before you renew your license when applicable. Every driver should have a refresher course on driving and the rules of the road. And every driver should have a written or if needed a road test if you reach a certain age in your life. Sort of like a emissions test but for people. I first got my G at 17. Which was a few years ago. But I have had my BZ for the past 16 years and my M2 and M for the last 5. I drive 6 1/2 hours in the driver seat and 9 1/2 hours out on the road 5 days a week. And I have seen it all. I get passed often of course since I have a limiter on my vehicle and am only allowed to do a certain speed. But in saying so I see them coming up behind me on the double lines and approaching hills or curves and I just get ready because I know there going to go by and there is nothing I can do about it. Except prepare myself for just that moment. You just have to use your defensive driving skills and be prepared. Either that or get a nice photo of that car and plate and send the complaint into your nearest detachment. More than likely you might have seen this same car on the road. Doing the same tricks. Well in time there will be someone waiting for him just around that bend. 😉

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