|Joplin/Duquesne - Southwest Missouri drivers soon will encounter a new type of traffic signal indication - flashing yellow left-turn arrows -- with the first installation in Joplin along Route 66 (7th Street) between Range Line and Route 249, the Missouri Department of Transportation said. Under a change in federal traffic regulations, Missouri is gradually switching to flashing yellow left-turn arrows at intersections which now have a circular green light for yielding left turns.
Use of flashing yellow left-turn arrows is considered an improvement to safety at signalized intersections, according to MoDot. They say it provides a more direct message of caution to drivers to yield to oncoming traffic than does the circular green light.
MoDOT/Southwest Traffic Engineer Joe Rickman said national studies show "the flashing yellow left-turn arrow had fewer crashes than the traditional green ball yielding left-turn indication."
Seven traffic signals will be modified and the new flashing yellow left-turn arrows are scheduled to be activated by the end of April, depending on weather conditions.
How It Works
- Drivers getting a flashing yellow left-turn arrow can make a left turn, but only after first yielding to oncoming vehicles and pedestrians, which have the right of way.
- A sign mounted next to the left-turn signal display will explain the meaning of the flashing yellow arrow, saying, "Left Turn Yield On Flashing Arrow."
- When the flashing yellow left-turn arrow stops flashing and becomes a steady yellow left-turn arrow, drivers should treat the non-flashing yellow left-turn arrow just like a standard yellow signal and prepare to stop before the red light appears.
A similar signal was installed at Route 39 and I-44 in Mount Vernon last December. While that was the first location in MoDOT's Southwest District, MoDOT is already using this type of left-turn indication elsewhere in Missouri, including Lebanon. The first ones in the state were installed in the St. Louis area starting in October 2006.
Remember: A flashing yellow left-turn arrow means you must yield to oncoming through-traffic and turn left cautiously only when you see an opening in the traffic coming toward you.
For more information go here.