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Flashing Yellow Arrow Traffic Signals  
User currently offline1337Delta764 From United States of America, joined Oct 2005, 6588 posts, RR: 2
Posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 2839 times:

I am pretty sure that several people have seen the new flashing yellow arrow traffic signals in a few places, where the flashing yellow arrow is used in lieu of a solid green ball light to indicate a permissive left turn.

I see that the point of these signals is to reduce yellow-trap (especially on a road that uses hybrid lead-lag phasing), however, wouldn't some people find such signals distracting due to the flashing? This was one of the very reasons why white strobes inside red signals have been banned.

As alternatives to a flashing yellow arrow, why not add a fourth color arrow? Perhaps a solid blue, purple, white, or pink arrow may have been a better idea than a flashing yellow arrow. Or what about a "reversed" green or yellow arrow signal, which would have a black arrow inside a green or yellow ball light?

What does anyone here think?


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44 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlinePolot From United States of America, joined Jul 2011, 2274 posts, RR: 1
Reply 1, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 2788 times:

Quoting 1337Delta764 (Thread starter):
Perhaps a solid blue, purple, white, or pink arrow may have been a better idea than a flashing yellow arrow. Or what about a "reversed" green or yellow arrow signal, which would have a black arrow inside a green or yellow ball light?

Purple and especially pink would be too easily confused with red lights (older traffic signals already sometimes have red lights that look pink due to age), blue would proably cause problems with those with color blindness and a "reverse" arrow would probably sometimes be hard to distinguish, especially from afar or in inclement weather.

But all of that is moot because there is already a signal for when left turns are permissible:

http://puckettpages.com/wp-content/uploads/Two-black-traffic-lights-on-cross-pole-showing-green-light-and-green-arrow-left-turn.jpg


User currently offline1337Delta764 From United States of America, joined Oct 2005, 6588 posts, RR: 2
Reply 2, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 2774 times:

Quoting Polot (Reply 1):
But all of that is moot because there is already a signal for when left turns are permissible:

This in fact is what the flashing yellow arrow is designed to replace. The flashing yellow arrow signal has four heads - solid red arrow, solid yellow arrow, flashing yellow arrow, and solid green arrow.



The Pink Delta 767-400ER - The most beautiful aircraft in the sky
User currently offlinePolot From United States of America, joined Jul 2011, 2274 posts, RR: 1
Reply 3, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 2767 times:

Quoting 1337Delta764 (Reply 2):
This in fact is what the flashing yellow arrow is designed to replace. The flashing yellow arrow signal has four heads - solid red arrow, solid yellow arrow, flashing yellow arrow, and solid green arrow.

I have never seen a flashing yellow arrow signal (and would just be incredible confused if I encountered one). Sounds like someone trying to reinvent the wheel to me.


User currently offline1337Delta764 From United States of America, joined Oct 2005, 6588 posts, RR: 2
Reply 4, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 2763 times:

Quoting Polot (Reply 3):
I have never seen a flashing yellow arrow signal (and would just be incredible confused if I encountered one). Sounds like someone trying to reinvent the wheel to me.

There are a few of those popping up here in the Phoenix area. Scottsdale was the first to experiment with them, and now Chandler, Gilbert, and Mesa have also introduced them at a few intersections. The flashing yellow arrow is a new addition to the 2009 MUTCD. While not required, the 2009 MUTCD now allows their use as an alternative to the 5-head signals. Read about the issue of "yellow trap", which is considered one of the safety flaws of the 5-head signals.

Typically, on traffic posts with these signals, there is a sign that explains what the flashing yellow arrow means.

[Edited 2013-05-25 22:19:54]


The Pink Delta 767-400ER - The most beautiful aircraft in the sky
User currently onlineBMI727 From United States of America, joined Feb 2009, 15794 posts, RR: 27
Reply 5, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 2757 times:

Quoting 1337Delta764 (Thread starter):

I am pretty sure that several people have seen the new flashing yellow arrow traffic signals in a few places, where the flashing yellow arrow is used in lieu of a solid green ball light to indicate a permissive left turn.

They've been around for years.

Quoting 1337Delta764 (Thread starter):
I see that the point of these signals is to reduce yellow-trap (especially on a road that uses hybrid lead-lag phasing), however, wouldn't some people find such signals distracting due to the flashing?

No. And what sort of idiot gets yellow trapped? In Illinois we have the (effectively) legal left turn on red.

Quoting 1337Delta764 (Thread starter):
Perhaps a solid blue, purple, white, or pink arrow may have been a better idea than a flashing yellow arrow

To a person with colorblindness it could appear to be a different color probably. I know the current colors are designed so they can be distinguished despite color blindness.



Why do Aerospace Engineering students have to turn things in on time?
User currently offlinePolot From United States of America, joined Jul 2011, 2274 posts, RR: 1
Reply 6, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 2756 times:

Quoting 1337Delta764 (Reply 4):

Honestly the best way to deal with yellow trap is to just reprogram the signals to avoid the issue in the first place. Does it sometimes make it annoying when you have to make a left turn but it is red while the through traffic is green and there is no oncoming traffic? Yes but it is the safest thing to do.


User currently offlinevikkyvik From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 10132 posts, RR: 26
Reply 7, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 2753 times:
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Quoting 1337Delta764 (Reply 2):
This in fact is what the flashing yellow arrow is designed to replace. The flashing yellow arrow signal has four heads - solid red arrow, solid yellow arrow, flashing yellow arrow, and solid green arrow.

Say what now? I'm confused about what the point of this is.

Quoting 1337Delta764 (Reply 4):
Typically, on traffic posts with these signals, there is a sign that explains what the flashing yellow arrow means.

...which is far more distracting than the signal itself. Last thing I want to do is have to read a sign to see what the traffic signals mean.

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 5):

To a person with colorblindness it could appear to be a different color probably. I know the current colors are designed so they can be distinguished despite color blindness.

Not to mention, red-green colorblindness is the most common, and people seem to get around OK.



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User currently offlineAeroWesty From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 20751 posts, RR: 62
Reply 8, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 2750 times:

This seems like a LOT of arrows to accommodate. Do they use something like the Panasonic Eco-9i monitors to display them all?   


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User currently offline1337Delta764 From United States of America, joined Oct 2005, 6588 posts, RR: 2
Reply 9, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 2743 times:

Quoting vikkyvik (Reply 7):
Not to mention, red-green colorblindness is the most common, and people seem to get around OK.

I know with incandescent signals, the red signals contained a tinge of orange, while the green signals contained a tinge of blue. Not sure if that is still the case with the newer LED signals.



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User currently offlinePolot From United States of America, joined Jul 2011, 2274 posts, RR: 1
Reply 10, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 2742 times:

Quoting vikkyvik (Reply 7):
Say what now? I'm confused about what the point of this is.

It is for if the two opposing traffic signals are not in sync (so the north bound signal turns red but the south bound signal stays green longer) and a drive making a left turn during the northbound yellow light assumes the southbound lanes are also turning yellow when they are not. But again the best way to deal with it is to program the signal so you can ONLY turn left with a green arrow when the oncoming lane has a red light, and at all other times the left turn signal is red. That is what all the intersections that have that issue in my area do.


User currently offlinevikkyvik From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 10132 posts, RR: 26
Reply 11, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 2732 times:
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Quoting Polot (Reply 10):

Ahhh, thank you. Can't say I've ever run into that.

In fact, that sounds like a stupid way to set up an intersection. Not sure why they wouldn't just put in red/green arrows.



"Two and a Half Men" was filmed in front of a live ostrich.
User currently offline1337Delta764 From United States of America, joined Oct 2005, 6588 posts, RR: 2
Reply 12, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 2721 times:

Quoting vikkyvik (Reply 11):
In fact, that sounds like a stupid way to set up an intersection. Not sure why they wouldn't just put in red/green arrows.

My guess is that the problem with having only protected left turns is that it moves less traffic, which probably isn't something you want on a busy intersection. An example of an intersection where a flashing yellow arrow would especially be beneficial is on a road that uses leading left turns in one direction but lagging left turns in the other, since such hybrid phasing can move more traffic than leading-only or lagging-only phasing, however, with conventional 5-head signals, this causes an issue with yellow trap on the leading side. Here is an illustration of that:
http://midimagic.sgc-hosting.com/leadlag.htm#lgtrp

[Edited 2013-05-25 23:08:53]


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User currently offlineseb146 From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 11734 posts, RR: 15
Reply 13, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 2713 times:

A left yellow flashing signal has been introduced here. I have always like it as it reduces the wait at intersections. Some people just don't get it. I also like the green dot/green arrow thing, but I think that is too much for Bay Area drivers. I guess, having lived in a "border" town (PDX) for 10+ years, I am used to different rules at any given time.


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User currently offlineGeezer From United States of America, joined Aug 2010, 1479 posts, RR: 2
Reply 14, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 2707 times:

Quoting vikkyvik (Reply 7):
..which is far more distracting than the signal itself. Last thing I want to do is have to read a sign to see what the traffic signals mean.

LMAO.......( I can just visualize 2 or 3 ninety year old ladies stopping in the middle of the street and trying to read the "instructions" on the traffic pole ! )

Anytime I'm needing to make a left turn on a very busy, multi-lane street, I go STRAIGHT through the green light, then I make THREE right turns, starting at the next green light.

BTW........were you aware that many trucking companies and delivery services PROHIBIT their drivers to make left turns ANYPLACE ? Always make three right turns; then you never become involved with the problems encountered with left turns.



Stupidity: Doing the same thing over and over and over again and expecting a different result; Albert Einstein
User currently offlineER757 From Cayman Islands, joined May 2005, 2560 posts, RR: 7
Reply 15, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 15 hours ago) and read 2619 times:

They just changed a signal that I pass on the way to work from left turn on green arrow only to the flashing yellow. It saves time for me as I travel to work early in the AM and there's very little traffic at that hour. In the past, if I missed the left turn arrow I had to sit through a ridiculously long cycle before I could proceed. Now I go right on through. I am liking it. Around here, there are so many left on green arrow only intersections that a lot of people just sit there after the arrow goes off on ones where left is permitted as long as the light's green in your direction. I think the yellow flashing arrow is helpful in that it tells these folks it's OK to go. I can't tell you how often I've been 2nd in line at a left turn lane and NOT been able to go through because the guy in front of me sat there after the green left turn arrow went off. So I say hurray for the yellow arrow!!

User currently offlineKaiGywer From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 12258 posts, RR: 35
Reply 16, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 14 hours ago) and read 2613 times:
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Flashing yellow always means yield, the same as flashing red always means stop. Hence, a flashing yellow arrow means you can turn after yielding to oncoming traffic...doesn't sound all that confusing to me.


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User currently onlineBMI727 From United States of America, joined Feb 2009, 15794 posts, RR: 27
Reply 17, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 12 hours ago) and read 2560 times:

Quoting KaiGywer (Reply 16):
Flashing yellow always means yield, the same as flashing red always means stop. Hence, a flashing yellow arrow means you can turn after yielding to oncoming traffic...doesn't sound all that confusing to me.

It's not. It reduces ambiguity if anything. The one I've found a bit odd is the red arrow accompanied by the "Right turn on red arrow after stop." Why not just have a green arrow and normal red light?



Why do Aerospace Engineering students have to turn things in on time?
User currently offlineGuitrThree From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 2057 posts, RR: 8
Reply 18, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 11 hours ago) and read 2546 times:

Ok people. Basically a flashing yellow arrow is in response to people who thought they had the right of way making a left turn because their light was green (even if it wasn't an arrow). I don't live in Kentucky but travel it daily. Everything you need to know about flashing yellow arrows can be found here:

http://transportation.ky.gov/Traffic.../Pages/Flashing-Yellow-Lights.aspx



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User currently offlineMir From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 21730 posts, RR: 55
Reply 19, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 10 hours ago) and read 2512 times:

Quoting KaiGywer (Reply 16):
Hence, a flashing yellow arrow means you can turn after yielding to oncoming traffic...doesn't sound all that confusing to me.

Except a solid green also means that you can turn left after yielding to oncoming traffic. So why do we need a flashing yellow arrow to tell us the same thing? It's confusing and pointless.

-Mir



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User currently offlinePC12Fan From United States of America, joined Jan 2007, 2453 posts, RR: 5
Reply 20, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 6 hours ago) and read 2460 times:

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 5):
They've been around for years.

Been popping up in St. Louis last couple years.

Quoting Mir (Reply 19):
Except a solid green also means that you can turn left after yielding to oncoming traffic.

Yea, but it's implied that if you have the solid green arrow that oncoming traffic will be stopping.



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User currently onlineBMI727 From United States of America, joined Feb 2009, 15794 posts, RR: 27
Reply 21, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 6 hours ago) and read 2459 times:

Quoting PC12Fan (Reply 20):
Yea, but it's implied that if you have the solid green arrow that oncoming traffic will be stopping.

He's talking about the solid green light rather than the arrow. It's effectively the same as the flashing yellow arrow. Honestly, I think most people understand them both and if there's a left turn arrow anyway, they aren't adding any more lights. I have no strong opinion either way, it's pretty much a wash.



Why do Aerospace Engineering students have to turn things in on time?
User currently offlinePC12Fan From United States of America, joined Jan 2007, 2453 posts, RR: 5
Reply 22, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 6 hours ago) and read 2452 times:

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 21):
He's talking about the solid green light rather than the arrow.

Ah, I stand corrected, thanks.



Just when I think you've said the stupidest thing ever, you keep talkin'!
User currently offlineXFSUgimpLB41X From United States of America, joined Aug 2000, 4218 posts, RR: 37
Reply 23, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 4 hours ago) and read 2425 times:

They are common in Michigan. I remember there was one configuration that I came upon around 2 in the morning right after I moved there- I wasn't sure whether I could turn or not... It wasn't a red arrow, it was a red light (above where the arrow was) and a green light.

I looked around to clear the way and turned, and a cop immediately pulled me over. I couldn't help but laugh.

"Well, I was wondering whether or not I could turn, and you've answered my question clearly."

(no ticket- the cop was cool)



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User currently offlineflymia From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 7215 posts, RR: 9
Reply 24, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 3 hours ago) and read 2417 times:

Quoting Polot (Reply 10):

There are very few intersections like that in South Florida when the oncoming traffic has an extended green. However, when there is there is a sign which says traffic has an extended green. So when I'm caught in the middle I just wait because I can read. I guess I see the point of it though.

I have never seen one of these though.



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25 Goldenshield : Where I live now, the people turning left don't yield for the opposing traffic who are turning right (So, turning to the same direction of traffic.)
26 Post contains images trav110 : I learned to drive in the US, and when I moved to Canada the only difference with the lights here is that instead of the solid green left turn arrow,
27 fr8mech : Not sure about trucking companies, but I do know the rules of two rather large shipping companies and they do not prohibit left turns. The system use
28 jagflyer : Advance green (traffic can turn left without stopping as oncoming traffic has a red night) can be signaled in three ways: -solid green arrow pointing
29 Post contains images trav110 : Yeah, as I reread OP's post while checking for replies I realized we were talking about two different things. I guess that's what happens when you po
30 windy95 : We are starting to see them here in Florida also. Two weeks ago they put the new signal in front of the county building and on the very first day a s
31 flanker : I have never seen a flashing YELLOW ARROW for a left turn, Only solid green arrow or solid green light. There are occasions where you have green arrow
32 casinterest : The yellows are here in Raleigh now. They make sense. They are used a lot where there are 4 lane highways with 2 lane crossroads with light traffic. I
33 Mir : That's what a green light means also. No need to reinvent the wheel. -Mir
34 Post contains links HOmSaR : Sounds like they're aiming for this: http://xkcd.com/1116/
35 rwy04lga : I just distinguish between light and dark colors. Sometimes the dirty/uncleaned 'green' lights look similar to the 'red' lights, I just have to be a
36 casinterest : Perhaps, but the yellow is a necessary item, especially when the lane splits out from the main flow, and especially when traffic is flowing very quic
37 Mir : All reasons to have a separate signal for the turn lane. -Mir
38 fr8mech : And, that's what the flashing yellow in the turn lane is all about. A turn lane controlled by dedicated lights should be far safer than a turn lane t
39 Mir : They're starting to put some protected turns in now, though the pedestrians aren't used to them and will cross into your path against the light. Inte
40 fr8mech : You gotta love NY. I remeber running into a couple of those intersections. True, except that people are conditioned to assume that a green light mean
41 Mir : It does mean go - the "all traffic left" sign and "do not enter" signs on the opposite street make it very clear that while you can go, you have to g
42 fr8mech : So what happens when 2 cars hit the intersection at the same time? Both assume the right of way because of the green light, don't they? The flashing
43 Mir : They both turn into the lanes closest to them. -Mir
44 Post contains links casinterest : Which is what it is for, but as evidenced from the article below. Studies have shown that the flashing yellow is more effective in reducing accidents
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