What’s up with this flashing yellow arrow?

What’s up with this flashing yellow arrow?

Flashing left-turn yellow arrows will soon be coming to traffic lights at 10 intersections in Fayetteville, thanks to the Georgia Department of Transportation.

The new scheme is intended to improve safety by reducing crashes, and it also will increase traffic flow, according to DOT. The new lights will, however, take some getting used to by local motorists.

The solid red and green arrows are self-explanatory: you can turn left on a green arrow and you must stop on a red one. It’s the yellow arrows where things get a bit trickier.

On a flashing yellow arrow signal, drivers may turn left but must yield to pedestrians and oncoming vehicles, DOT says. On a solid yellow signal, drivers should prepare to stop as the light is about to turn red, officials said.

During heavy traffic volume the traffic signal may skip the flashing yellow phase to increase safety at the intersection, DOT says. It is important that drivers not try to anticipate what the traffic signal is about to do; just “drive and obey the signal,” according to DOT’s advice.

The new signals will be up and running by Wednesday, Dec. 4, officials said.

The new signals are coming to Ga. Highway 314 at the intersection of White and Banks Road and the intersection of Creekwood Trail. They will also be found on Ga. Highway 54 at the intersections of North Jeff Davis Drive and South Jeff Davis Drive.

Six of the signals will be on Ga. Highway 85, stretching from the two lights at the courthouse square (Ga. highways 54) on the south end ranging north to the crossroads with Ga. Highway 92, Ga. 314/North Jeff Davis Drive, Creekwood Trail and Banks Road.

“We believe this will help drivers wanting to make a left turn better understand when they can do so freely, when they may proceed with their turn cautiously, and when they may not turn left,”  DOT Regional Traffic Operations Program Manager Grant Waldrop said.  “Our primary purpose is to reduce the often-devastating angle crashes that result when a left-turning vehicle is struck by oncoming traffic.”

NUK_1
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Stoplight fun!

Here's a little-known fact about GA and lights: if you're on a one-way street and about to turn on another one-way street at the intersection, you can legally do it at a red light. Yep, you can make a left turn on red if it's a one-way.

I didn't believe this when my daughter informed me of this when we were driving around downtown where there are a bunch of one-way streets, but she is right. Looked it up and was amazed.

Spyglass
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Folks won't even turn their lights on in the rain/fog..

how do you expect them to actually know a law like this?

FWIW, it's the law in most states that I know of...the left on red thing, from one one way street to another....

SPQR
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thanks

I've always wondered about that!

cats119
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Dangerous Assumption

This change makes the dangerously mistaken assumption that all drivers on these state highways are residents of Fayetteville and will know what this random change means. The uneducated - those from out of town and those who have not read the local papers - will have no clue what all of this means. I see far more accidents in our future as folks try to figure out what the heck is going on. Not a well thought out plan Fayetteville.

Spyglass
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Not too complicated to me

Green go, red stop, yellow show caution, much like a flashing yellow means, no difference to me.

Stinger
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Is this really safer?

First, what is the difference between a flashing yellow arrow and just a solid green signal (no arrow). Both mean you can turn left as long as there are no oncoming vehicles and the crosswalk is clear. Why add this extra level of complexity?

Second, it seems to me that people are more likely to get into a wreck because they will mistake the flashing yellow arrow with a solid yellow arrow which implies you have the right of way to turn left. I can hear the conversation now..."[driver] Well I had a yellow arrow... [officer] Yes, but was it flashing? [driver] Was what flashing?"

If the problem was with people turning when the shouldn't or not turning when they should, isn't the problem with driver and not the signal. Wouldn't creating a more complex signaling scheme will only make the problem worse?

BMF
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Agreed!

I agree with you 100%. The only logical explanation I can think of for why they would go with this scheme is to not have to retrofit traffic signals where the turn signals are physically separated from the regular signals. This is usually the case for roads with medians or where there are two left turn lanes.

This will likely cause problems for a while until drivers become accustomed to them, which may be a long time indeed. I'm amazed at how many drivers seemingly don't understand the difference between a flashing yellow and flashing red light. I'm talking normal lights here and not arrows.

Citizen_Steve
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Color Difference

Obviously the difference between a green and flashing yellow is that for your green arrow, the opposing drivers have a red light and are obligated to stop, while for your flashing yellow, opposing drivers have a green light. Certainly no matter what the signal it is well advised to be sure all is clear before crossing an intersection.

What I'd like to know is this - will more left turn time be allowed by this change? Meaning, will there be times where presently a red arrow is shown that will be replaced by a flashing yellow? Because it really wastes our time having to wait through a red left arrow while the straight ahead signal is green and no opposing cars are coming.

Steve

Stinger
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Got it...

I was thinking of a different type of traffic light which has red/yellow/green (circle) + yellow/green arrow. I suppose the picture at the top should have given it away...

rolling stone
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Color difference to a person who is color blind

I have a friend who cannot tell the difference in stop light colors, they go by which one is lit up. This flashing yellow arrow scenario is not going to be easy for drivers with this condition.