Lane Driving

Vehicle Categories and Dedicated Lanes

To understand the concept of lane driving, it is customary to know about categories of roads according to lanes. In terms of segregation of traffic moving in opposite directions we can say that there are two types of roads undivided and divided roads. Undivided roads are those where there is no physical barrier is present segregate traffic moving in opposite directions whereas divided roads are those which are physically divided by means of a median or the divider. The undivided roads are virtually divided by means of continuous longitudinal road markings. Smaller roads which have width 5.5 meters or less are not even divided by means of lanes.

Now, let us understand lanes on a given road. On wider roads, for example four lane or six lane roads, the movement of traffic in a given direction is separated by lane markings which we see as broken lines or discontinued longitudinal marking. The continuous or broken lines on the road, categorized as longitudinal road markings, play a significant role in managing the flow of traffic and also offers visibility at night. Generally, four or six lane roads are present in urban areas or the highways. The lane traffic is regulated where the volume of traffic on a particular road is high.

It is also very important to understand the concept of dedicated lanes from the perspective of road safety. Usually, multiple lanes are provided on an urban road or highways for movement of specific category of vehicles. Though, in typical Indian scenario heterogeneous traffic movement is seen on multi-lane roads but this is not the general rule as far as safety is concerned.

Regulations for Lane Traffic in India

The regulations for lane traffic are described in Motor Vehicle Driving Regulations, 2017. According to Regulation 4(5) of MVDR, 2017 - a heavy vehicle or a speed restricted vehicle are to be driven in the left lane on a carriageway with several lanes in one direction, except when overtaking an obstruction or a slower moving vehicle. The Regulation 6 of MVDR, 2017 describe the following norms of driving in respect to the lane driving:

  • Where any road is marked by lanes for movement of traffic, the driver shall drive within the lane, and change lanes only after giving a proper signal or road marking or signage.
  • Where any lane is marked specially for a class of vehicles, a vehicle of that class shall drive in that lane only.
  • Where a lane has been marked for a specified class of vehicles or for a special purpose, no other vehicle of any other class shall be driven in that lane for example cycle lane or bus lane etc.
  • Where a road is divided by a longitudinal yellow or white solid line, the driver, proceeding in the same direction and trying to overtake another vehicle ahead, shall not cross the said yellow or white solid line. Thus, the solid longitudinal lines depict no overtaking zone.
  • While approaching inter-sections, where turning lanes are marked with a single solid line, the driver shall ensure that the vehicle remains in the lane meant for the direction of manoeuvre.
  • The driver shall not drive on or over a single or double longitudinal solid line, or on a painted traffic island except in case of obstructions on the road.
  • On a road having a single broken line along with a solid line, the driver of the vehicle driving on the left of broken line may cross the broken line in order to overtake but shall return to his lane after completing the manoeuvre, observing the safety precautions.