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PennDOT Announces First Use Of Flashing Yellow Arrow Signals

Highway Safety News, PennDOT News | April 29th, 2016

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) has announced it will be activating a new type of left turn signal that has been proven to improve left turn safety at intersections.

Flashing Yellow Arrow signals are new to Pennsylvania but they have become commonplace in many states across the United States over the last 10 years. Based on many national studies and transportation agency testimonials, Flashing Yellow Arrow signals improve left-turning safety by helping motorists recognize that they should yield while making left turns when there is oncoming traffic and pedestrians.

According to research funded by the Federal Highway Administration, left turn crashes can be reduced by as much as 20 percent after the installation of the Flashing Yellow Arrow signal. Also, Flashing Yellow Arrow signals can be adjusted depending on the time of day, reducing delays and improving mobility.

The current signal configuration features a green left arrow to allow left turns followed by a yellow arrow and then a circular green indication. The new configuration will feature four left turn arrows:

  • Steady green left arrow meaning the left turn is protected and oncoming traffic is to stop.
  • Flashing yellow arrow meaning drivers must yield to oncoming traffic and pedestrians before completing the left turn.
  • Steady yellow arrow meaning left turns should stop because the signal is about to change to red.
  • Steady red arrow meaning left turns must stop and cannot proceed.

“Our goal with this change is to add a reminder that once the green left arrow stops showing, drivers need to yield to oncoming traffic and pedestrians before proceeding to make a left turn at a signalized intersection,” said PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards. “The flashing yellow arrow means yield to oncoming traffic and pedestrians and then proceed with caution.”

More information on Flashing Yellow Arrow signals and other traffic signal initiatives is available at www.penndot.gov in the traffic signals section of “Travel In PA” or HERE