Flashing Yellow Arrows Start To Show Up In Area Intersections - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Flashing Yellow Arrows Start To Show Up In Area Intersections



     It's meant to reduce accidents at intersections for that left hand turn that can sometimes be tricky. New signals that include a flashing yellow arrow are now starting to show up in our area. Galesburg drivers started seeing them a couple months ago.
     On the new signals you'll see four different arrows. The solid green means go, make a left turn. The steady yellow arrow tells drivers prepare to stop. Solid red still means stop. Then there's the flashing yellow arrow, which means to yield to oncoming traffic and pedestrians before turning left. Galesburg one of the first cities in our area to see them and so far drivers have mixed feelings on what could eventually be a national standard.
     "I think they're a nuisance. I think they're awful. I don't know why they did it and spent all the money on them," said Kris Whitsitt.
     "It's a good idea, anything to grab drivers attention," said Gerald Underwood from Andover. "Maybe get them off their cell phone and a few other things."
     So far IDOT has installed the new flashing yellow arrows at about ten major Galesburg intersections on state roads. They're used for dedicated turn lanes only to make it easier for drivers to know what to do. Traffic engineers say the Federal Highway Administration has been studying different symbols for the left turn for about 15 years. "People understood the flashing yellow arrow better than the other symbols including the circular green," said Randy Laninga, a Traffic Engineer for District 4.
    The FHWA recently adopted the flashing yellow arrow as a national standard for left turns. Initially, Laninga says there have been crashes due to confusion.
    "I know my husband almost hit someone yesterday that thought it was okay to just go on it," said Whitsitt.
    But so far overall studies show it has decreased all left turn crashes by 20 percent and T-bone left turn crashes by 30 percent. Forty states have started installing the new signals but, because of the expense and countless signalized intersections, it could be a slow adoption process for some areas. 
     The signals cost between $8,000 and $14,000, with FHWA safety funds paying for the ones in Galesburg. How quickly they are installed in other districts will likely depend on funding.


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