In the past few months, Minnesota, Oklahoma and North Dakota are among the states that have seen more installations of flashing yellow left-turn arrow signals at busy city intersections. Because this type of signal light is relatively new, some drivers find them initially confusing.
If you plan to turn left and encounter such a signal, you need to yield to oncoming traffic and pedestrians. However, once it’s clear, you can go ahead and make your left turn.
The flashing yellow arrow helps remind drivers to use caution when preparing to turn. This kind of signal also provides city traffic operations more flexible means for managing traffic during peak periods of the day. Signaling can be easily adjusted to fit a specific intersection’s traffic patterns.
Below is an infographic, produced by the City of Owasso, Okla., you can pass along to your drivers as a friendly reminder. The image explains the distinct meanings behind four different signals regulating left turns: the steady red arrow (no left turns allowed), steady yellow arrow (prepare to stop), flashing yellow arrow (left turns allowed but you must yield to oncoming traffic and pedestrians) and steady green arrow (left turns allowed and protected).
To view a video about this kind of signal light, you can click on the link or photo below the headline. The North Dakota Department of Transportation produced the video.