Pavement Markings: Why Do We Need Them & What Do They Mean?

Lines, markings and symbols on the roadway can indicate a number of things to drivers, cyclists and pedestrians. In a parking lot, lines usually indicate where you can and cannot park. Out on the road, pavement markings can be more complex. However, we all need these indications to travel safely. Without them, there would be accidents, injuries and chaos on our roadways and parking lots.

While winter is not the typical time of year to work on your next pavement marking project, it is a good time to brush up on your knowledge of what these symbols mean. As you start to prepare for your upcoming project in the spring and summer, our pavement marking experts at Stripe Rite want to help refresh your memory about the importance of pavement markings.

Road striping and markings in Washington

Why You Need Pavement Markings

Pavements markings are extremely important in guiding the direction of traffic. Pedestrians, motorists and bicyclists are often traveling through your parking lot, and could be at risk without proper management. Pavement markings help direct traffic, as well as provide order among drivers. Expertly applied striping in your parking lot can overall help reduce the confusion between drivers, and allow them to maneuver through safely.

Paint striping applies to standard painted lines on the road. These include center lines and lane lines. Paint and other durable materials, such as plastic or raised reflectors are all used for markings.

The Federal Highway Administration states that pavement markings must be seen during the night should be retroreflective and visible. The coloring and type of lines indicate the dividing of oncoming traffic vs. same-direction traffic. At night, it’s more difficult to see the road clearly. Drivers rely heavily on roadway markings to be easy to see and distinct, especially after dark.

Common Types of Pavement Markings

Here are examples of common pavement markings, lines and symbols and what they mean:

Lines: White lines separate traffic flowing in the same direction. Stop lines are signified with a solid white line that shows where you must stop. When a driver approaches a stop signal, they must stop before approaching the line or crosswalk.

Broken yellow lines indicate that you can pass a car in your lane if the way is clear. While solid yellow lines separate traffic traveling in opposite directions. This is the most well-known roadway marking.

Crosswalks: Crosswalks define the area where a driver must yield to pedestrians in or about to enter a crosswalk. However, not all crosswalks are marked. Drivers must be alert and watchful for pedestrians when they are crossing intersections that do not have a defined crosswalk.

Symbols: Lines aren’t the only form of indication, various symbols are used to direct traffic as well. Symbol messaging are commonly preferred to word messaging. For example, when driving on the freeway, the HOV lane is marked with a white diamond. Examples of popular symbol pavement markings are the handicap symbols, bike symbols, and rail road crossings.

Arrows: Arrows often signal lane use. Arrows show required or permitted movements at intersections. A turn-only lane will often have an arrow pointing in the correct direction to travel followed by the word “ONLY”. If a road has multiple turn lanes going various directions, arrows will help to easily direct the flow of traffic.

Washington Pavement Marking Experts at Stripe Rite

Providing drivers, cyclists and pedestrians information on the road is important for safe traveling. Whether it’s a business parking lot or commercial airfield, Stripe Rite has the equipment and knowledge to handle your next pavement marking project, no matter how big or small. Contact us today to learn more about our Washington pavement marking services.