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Summary
  • A no passing zone sign is a pennant-shaped, yellow regulatory sign with black lettering that indicates that you’re entering a no passing zone, where you’re not allowed to pass or overtake any vehicles in front of you.
  • Other common signs that you’re entering a no passing zone include solid yellow lines on the road and do not pass signs. A pass with care sign indicates you’re leaving a no passing zone.
  • No passing zones are set based on how far ahead drivers can see, and they can often be found around bends or hills. You can also find them before certain crossroads, at intersections in school zones, and before bridges and tunnels.
  • Failing to follow the law in a no passing zone might lead to bad accidents, hefty fines, points on your driver’s record, and license suspension.

When driving, it’s important to follow the many different signs that appear on the roadside. Following these signs isn’t only a matter of avoiding repercussions, it’s about safety. The no passing zone sign is one very good example of a sign you should follow for everyone’s sake, your own included.

No Passing Zone Sign Meaning and Appearance

A no passing zone sign is meant to warn you of a stretch of road ahead where you’re not allowed to pass or overtake any vehicles in front of you. This area is, predictably, called a no passing zone. No passing zone signs are regulatory signs commonly accompanied by do not pass signs and solid yellow lines on the driver’s side of the road. All of these are meant to remind drivers that passing other vehicles in the area is illegal and they need to stay on their side of the road.

Now, what does a no passing zone sign look like? The no passing zone sign is typically designed as a yellow and black sideways triangle (pennant-shaped) sign, usually situated facing the vehicle on the left side of the highway or road. No passing zones are set based on how far ahead drivers are able to see, and they can often be found around bends or hills. It’s difficult to see far enough ahead to safely pass other vehicles in these areas, hence the need for the no passing zone and sign.

close up shot of a no passing zone sign
A no passing zone sign is meant to warn you of a stretch of road ahead where you’re not allowed to pass or overtake any vehicles in front of you.

Other Common Signs You’re in a No Passing Zone

As we’ve mentioned, the no passing zone sign isn’t the only indicator that you’re in a no passing zone. Here are some other signs you need to look out for to avoid passing other vehicles when you shouldn’t:

Lines on the Road

Apart from defining where one lane starts and ends, lines on the road also commonly indicate whether or not you can overtake other vehicles. The most common lines you’ll see are, of course, the white lines, which show which lanes of traffic are going in the same direction. Yellow lines generally indicate that vehicles on the other side of the line are going in the opposite direction. A single dotted yellow or white line typically means you can pass vehicles normally over those lines. Yellow lines can also mean different things depending on how they appear on the pavement though, including whether or not you’re in a no passing zone.

Double Solid Yellow Line

A double solid yellow line, also known as a double barrier, is a clear indicator that you’re in a no passing zone. No vehicles, including emergency response vehicles, are allowed to overtake other vehicles over double solid yellow lines.

Dotted Yellow Line Beside a Solid Yellow Line

Sometimes, you’ll see a dotted yellow line beside a solid yellow line. If you’re on the dotted side of the yellow lines, you’re allowed to pass other vehicles with caution. On the other hand, if you’re on the solid side of the yellow lines, you aren’t allowed to overtake vehicles over the line at all.

Do Not Pass Sign

The do not pass sign is another regulatory sign that’s meant to indicate a no passing zone. It signals to drivers that the stretch of road in front of them is unsafe for overtaking other vehicles.

The do not pass sign is a regulatory sign. Like no passing zone signs, do not pass signs indicate that it’s unsafe to pass other vehicles on the stretch of road the driver is on, likely due to unseen hazards ahead like curves, hidden driveways, hills, and so on.

Do not pass and no passing zone signs differ in design and sometimes placement. No passing zone signs are pennant-shaped and have a yellow background with black letters. Do not pass signs are rectangular with a white background and black lettering. Do not pass signs often accompany no passing zone signs, but sometimes they’ll be placed in areas where adjacent lanes are either merging or ending.

Pass With Care Sign

The pass with care sign is meant to indicate the end of a no passing zone. It’s another white, rectangular sign with black lettering, and it alerts drivers that they may now pass other vehicles again with care.

Where Are No Passing Zones Typically Found?

Keep in mind that no passing zone road signs won’t always appear in no passing zones. Keep an eye out for other indicators that you’re in a no passing zone, like the road lines we mentioned earlier. If you’re looking to spot a no passing zone sign specifically, keep an eye out in these areas:

  • Before crossroads that don’t have a fence or barrier between the paths
  • In school zones at certain intersections
  • Before sharp turns
  • At least 50 feet before going through a tunnel or crossing a bridge
  • Before other structures that might impact visibility

Penalties of Ignoring a No Passing Zone Sign

You can very easily cause an accident if you ignore the no passing zones and pass other vehicles despite the signs and other indicators. That’s why there are hefty fines and penalties in place for those who break the law when it comes to these zones.

Even minor traffic infractions can cost you anywhere from $100 to $1,000 in fines, and that’s not counting court costs. If you’re in a school zone or a construction zone when the infraction occurs, the fine will likely be on the more expensive side.

Driving points are another consideration. These points will be added to your driving record depending on the severity of the infraction. While penalties and fines differ from state to state, you’re looking at receiving four points or more on your record if you overtake a vehicle in a no passing zone. Your license might also be suspended if the violation is paired with other offenses.

Overall, these traffic laws are in place for everyone’s safety. When it comes to no passing zones, ignorance likely won’t spare you from getting a ticket, and it certainly won’t help you avoid any nasty accidents. Now that you know more about no passing zone signs and what they mean, it’ll be easier for you to stay safe on the road.

About The Author
Written By Automotive and Tech Writers

The CarParts.com Research Team is composed of experienced automotive and tech writers working with (ASE)-certified automobile technicians and automotive journalists to bring up-to-date, helpful information to car owners in the US. Guided by CarParts.com's thorough editorial process, our team strives to produce guides and resources DIYers and casual car owners can trust.

Any information provided on this Website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace consultation with a professional mechanic. The accuracy and timeliness of the information may change from the time of publication.

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