Driving Left Of The Yellow Left Edge Line Marking | K53 Blog

Rules for the yellow left-edge line marking

Road marking: left edge yellow lineThe basic rule applicable to the yellow left edge line marking is that you are not allowed to drive to the left of the yellow line.

However, there is one exception that applies.


Exception to the rule

You may drive to the left of the yellow line only if ALL of the following FIVE conditions apply.

  1. It is a single-lane two-way road (vehicles travelling in opposite directions, with only one lane on each side of the dividing line), AND
  2. it is while being overtaken, AND
  3. it is between sunrise and sunset, AND
  4. you can do so safely, without endangering people or property, AND
  5. vehicles and people can be clearly seen for at least 150 metres ahead.

If any ONE or more of these five conditions is not present, the basic rule still applies:
do not drive on the left of that yellow line.


A friend on mine, while driving back from PE to Cape Town after Christmas, was nearly ‘taken out’ while overtaking someone driving a Mercedes Benz on the left of the yellow edge line marking.

The Merc (i.e. not a small, low-powered car) was travelling 80 km/h to the left of the yellow line on a road with a speed limit of 120 km/h. As my friend was overtaking the Merc, the driver unexpectedly, and without signalling, moved back onto the main roadway and cut my friend off, forcing him across to the other side of the road where he narrowly missed a head-on collision with an oncoming vehicle.

From my friend’s description, it seems that extra care should have been taken by both drivers.

The exception mentioned above applies only while being overtaken, NOT in order to keep out of the way of any vehicles that may need to overtake when they reach the slower vehicle.

The driver who is being overtaken

Before moving to the left to cross the yellow line, the driver of the slower vehicle must apply the K53 defensive driving standard:

  • Check in the rear-view mirrors and left blind spot before signalling
  • If safe, signal the intention to move to the left
  • Before moving across, check again in the left blind spot
  • Move to the left and cancel the indicator.

The overtaking driver

  • Satisfy yourself that it is in fact safe to overtake at that time. Be mindful of any potential hazards on the road ahead, including oncoming traffic and the possibility of an approaching driver crossing on to your side of the road to overtake at the same time you are about to overtake the vehicle that is travelling on the left of the yellow line.
  • Once you start overtaking, complete the manoeuvre as quickly as possible, within the speed limit.

The driver who has just been overtaken

  • Realise that you are not allowed to remain on the left of the yellow line; driving there is only permissible while being overtaken.
  • Before moving right, back onto the main roadway again, follow the K53 defensive driving procedure again as before, this time checking in the mirrors and the blind spot to the right.
  • Move to right only when you are absolutely certain that it is safe to do so. If the road ahead is no longer clear on the left of the yellow line, you may be forced to slow down, or even stop if necessary, before it is safe to move back onto the main roadway.


Official wording of the meaning of this road marking

Officla meaning of troad marking RM4.1


Text of Regulation 298A mentioned above

(1)  Subject to subregulation (2) and regulation 298 (1) (e), no person shall drive a motor vehicle on the shoulder of a public road.

(2)  Notwithstanding subregulation (1), the driver of a motor vehicle may, during the period between sunrise and sunset, drive such motor vehicle on the shoulder of a public road which is designated for one lane of traffic in each direction—

(a) while such motor vehicle is being overtaken by another vehicle; and

(b) if he or she can do so without endangering himself or herself, other traffic, pedestrians or property on such public road;

(c) if persons and vehicles upon a public road are clearly discernible at a distance of at least 150 metres.

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