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Northwest District Social Media

Flashing Yellow Left-Turn Arrows

What are flashing yellow left-turn arrows?

The Federal Highway Administration is now allowing departments of transportation to use flashing yellow left-turn signals as an option at some roadway intersections. In Northwest Missouri, the first flashing yellow left-turn signal was installed in August 2013 at the intersection of Hornet Drive and Route 190 where students and other motorists enter and exit Chillicothe High School in Livingston County. The first signals of this kind in Missouri were on Interstate 70 at Route K in St. Charles County.



How does a flashing yellow left-turn arrow work?

A flashing yellow arrow means left turns are permitted, but you must first yield to other traffic and pedestrians, then proceed with caution. The flashing yellow arrow does not replace the solid yellow arrow and its meaning, but it does replace the green "ball" indicator as a signal for a yielding left turn.

Remember - a flashing yellow means turn with caution.



How should drivers approach a flashing yellow left-turn signal?

Drivers should stop at the intersection and yield to oncoming traffic. If and when it is safe, make the left turn and proceed through the intersection. When a flashing yellow arrow ends, the solid yellow arrow begins meaning the left turn signal is about to change to red and drivers should prepare to stop or prepare to complete their left turn if they are in the intersection.



Why not use a solid green "ball" indicator instead of the flashing yellow arrow:

The solid green "ball" indicator is often misunderstood as a left turn indicator. This is because drivers naturally think "green means go." Traffic making a left turn sometimes does not yield to oncoming traffic if there is a solid green light, causing traffic crashes. The flashing yellow arrow allows left turns, but communicates a caution message to drivers. The flashing yellow left-turn arrow is especially effective at intersections with high volumes of traffic.



Are other states using this type of signal?

Yes. The Federal Highway Administration has approved the use of flashing yellow arrows in the latest version of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices.

For more information: Please contact MoDOT at 816-387-2350 or 1-888 ASK MoDOT (888-275-6636)
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