New Flashing Yellow Turn Signals Coming to Arlington Intersections
Motorists will soon notice a new style of left-turn signals
sprouting up at various intersections around Arlington. The new
signals will flash, in yellow, indicating left-turning traffic must
first yield to oncoming traffic and pedestrians before turning.
These new flashing-yellow-arrow left-turn signals are expected to
help prevent crashes at high-traffic intersections and even reduce
gasoline consumption because traffic keeps moving through
intersections instead of idling.
The new signals are being introduced in Arlington in January and
have been appearing in different cities across the country as a
result of a decade-long national study conducted for the Federal
Highway Administration. The study shows that drivers making a left
turn facing a green ball signal display can too easily misinterpret
the green signal as giving the right of way.
A flashing yellow arrow is more easily understood as caution -
meaning “yield to oncoming traffic before you turn left,” said City
of Arlington Traffic Engineer Paul Iwuchukwu.
“When on, the flashing yellow left-turn arrow means a vehicle is
allowed to cautiously enter an intersection to make the turn, but
the driver must first yield to oncoming vehicles and pedestrians, ”
Iwuchukwu said. “The beautiful thing about this is that, even when
there seems to be confusion, it allows a motorist time to assess the
situation before proceeding.”
Basically, the new flashing yellow arrow provides a more direct
message than the traditional circular green indication for left
turns. It reduces confusion because the turn lane display is no
longer the same indication as the adjacent through lanes.
Iwuchukwu said the signals will first be installed at the Collins
Street and Sublett Road intersection and move northward to
intersections where there are separate left-turn-arrow signals. At
those intersections, drivers will see one of the following
indications as they approach a signal with a flashing yellow
left-turn arrow display:
Steady Red Arrow, where drivers turning left must stop and wait.
Steady Yellow Arrow, where drivers are warned the left-turn signal
is about to turn red. (Do not enter the intersection if you can stop
safely. Vehicles in the intersection should complete their turn.)
Flashing Yellow Arrow, which means drivers are allowed to turn
left after yielding to oncoming traffic and pedestrians.
Steady Green Arrow, which says proceed with left turn. (Drivers
making a left turn have the right-of-way. This sequence may be
skipped if no left-turning vehicles are detected by the signal
To get the word out, flyers have been placed with December water
bills. Residents will also notice handouts located in schools,
libraries, and in other public facilities.
“We are also meeting with our Arlington Police Department partners
for education and other strategies regarding enforcement,” Iwuchukwu