There is a new addition being implemented to U.S. roads. Back in 2006, the Federal Highway Administration approved the flashing yellow turn arrow. The new light is being implemented more frequently and may be coming soon to a traffic light near you.
The yellow flashing light signifies “Turn with caution”. The light does not replace the solid yellow turn signal, it acts more like a stop sign option instead. If there are no cars coming it is legal for you to turn, but as cars will be a factor you simply wait for your turn. Similar to making a right turn on red, but for left arrow turns.
With anything new there can be confusion and a learning curve. Hopefully you have read it here first and will know exactly how to handle it when you see one. Unfortunately, there have already been some accidents involving the new traffic light. Officials are keeping a close eye on the statistics to be sure it is not a misstep or that the adoption of the new signal was made prematurely or in poor judgement.
The key difference, and the reasoning behind most driver’s confusion, is that during a solid yellow light the driver making a left turn still has the right of way. During a yellow flashing arrow the driver that is turning left does not have the right of way and must yield to oncoming traffic and pedestrians.
Thus far, the FHA has done a poor job of reaching the general population and notifying them of the new light and how it should be interpreted. Once everyone has a widespread understanding of what to do, it should produce more efficient traffic flow. We thought it would be a good idea to do our part in giving everyone the ‘heads-up’.
Remember, a yellow flashing turn signal means: “Turn With Caution”. If you have any doubts or confusion about the new turn signal follow the link below and watch the FHA approved instructional video for clarification.