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Single white line on carpool lane isn’t barrier

Q. I know California is changing lane striping to standardize with the rest of the country on width, color, etc. I understand the meaning of dotted lines and double stripes. But can I legally cross a single, solid-white line from a carpool lane to another lane?

– Steve Donaldson, Anaheim

A. Yes, just be careful – for safety and for legal reasons.

First, look around for a black and white sign that prohibits you crossing over the line – if none, you can slide over it, says Mitch Smith, an officer and spokesman for the California Highway Patrol out of the Westminster station house.

“That being said,” he told Honk in an email, “as with all lane changes, motorists should always proceed with caution … and while using the appropriate signal.”

A Caltrans spokesman told Honk years ago that such a solid-white line on an Orange County freeway was put in to discourage, but not to outlaw, crossing from a carpool lane into another lane in an accident-prone spot.

So consider such solid white lines dividing carpool and regular lanes, if no regulatory sign is posted, as a warning to be extra careful.

(Of course, crossing over a pair of solid white or yellow lines is illegal.)

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