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1337Delta764
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Flashing Yellow Arrow Traffic Signals

Sun May 26, 2013 3:33 am

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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Polot
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RE: Flashing Yellow Arrow Traffic Signals

Sun May 26, 2013 4:59 am

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
 
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1337Delta764
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RE: Flashing Yellow Arrow Traffic Signals

Sun May 26, 2013 5:06 am

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.
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RE: Flashing Yellow Arrow Traffic Signals

Sun May 26, 2013 5:12 am

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.
 
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1337Delta764
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RE: Flashing Yellow Arrow Traffic Signals

Sun May 26, 2013 5:17 am

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]
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BMI727
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RE: Flashing Yellow Arrow Traffic Signals

Sun May 26, 2013 5:21 am

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.
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RE: Flashing Yellow Arrow Traffic Signals

Sun May 26, 2013 5:27 am

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.
 
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RE: Flashing Yellow Arrow Traffic Signals

Sun May 26, 2013 5:29 am

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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RE: Flashing Yellow Arrow Traffic Signals

Sun May 26, 2013 5:37 am

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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1337Delta764
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RE: Flashing Yellow Arrow Traffic Signals

Sun May 26, 2013 5:41 am

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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RE: Flashing Yellow Arrow Traffic Signals

Sun May 26, 2013 5:42 am

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.
 
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RE: Flashing Yellow Arrow Traffic Signals

Sun May 26, 2013 5:51 am

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.
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1337Delta764
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RE: Flashing Yellow Arrow Traffic Signals

Sun May 26, 2013 6:08 am

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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seb146
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RE: Flashing Yellow Arrow Traffic Signals

Sun May 26, 2013 6:19 am

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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RE: Flashing Yellow Arrow Traffic Signals

Sun May 26, 2013 6:31 am

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.
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RE: Flashing Yellow Arrow Traffic Signals

Sun May 26, 2013 4:48 pm

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!!
 
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RE: Flashing Yellow Arrow Traffic Signals

Sun May 26, 2013 4:54 pm

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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BMI727
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RE: Flashing Yellow Arrow Traffic Signals

Sun May 26, 2013 7:44 pm

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?
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RE: Flashing Yellow Arrow Traffic Signals

Sun May 26, 2013 8:05 pm

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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RE: Flashing Yellow Arrow Traffic Signals

Sun May 26, 2013 9:41 pm

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.

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RE: Flashing Yellow Arrow Traffic Signals

Mon May 27, 2013 1:05 am

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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RE: Flashing Yellow Arrow Traffic Signals

Mon May 27, 2013 1:08 am

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.
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RE: Flashing Yellow Arrow Traffic Signals

Mon May 27, 2013 1:21 am

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

Ah, I stand corrected, thanks.
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RE: Flashing Yellow Arrow Traffic Signals

Mon May 27, 2013 3:17 am

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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RE: Flashing Yellow Arrow Traffic Signals

Mon May 27, 2013 3:55 am

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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RE: Flashing Yellow Arrow Traffic Signals

Mon May 27, 2013 10:26 am

Quoting Mir (Reply 19):
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.

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.) Basically, you have both turn lanes clearing out at the same time as long as there's no straight traffic. If I did this in CA, though, I'd end up with a lot of tickets.
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RE: Flashing Yellow Arrow Traffic Signals

Mon May 27, 2013 10:38 am

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, it's a flashing green left turn arrow (I think it's called an advanced green, or something). It works exactly the same as a solid green arrow, and to answer your question:

Quoting 1337Delta764 (Thread starter):
wouldn't some people find such signals distracting due to the flashing?

No, it's about as straightforward as you can be. Not confusing at all.



Using KPH instead of MPH, however... That's a whole different story 
 
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RE: Flashing Yellow Arrow Traffic Signals

Mon May 27, 2013 4:33 pm

Quoting Geezer (Reply 14):
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.

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 used to map out routes will suggest right turns when it is more efficient to do so.

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.

Yeah, I'm really not sure why this would confuse anyone. These popped up a few years ago on fairly busy stretch of road and I couldn't be happier. I hated waiting for the light to cycle through before I made my left.

Quoting Mir (Reply 19):
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.

Except where there is a controlled left turn lane. Here, the left turn lanes will have a red arrow to stop traffic when the oncoming traffic is green and the traffic moving in the same direction as you is green. After a few seconds of that, it goes to a blinking yellow arrow.

The only time I see a green arrow is when the side is loaded up with cars and the "system" decides it needs to alleviate the load. All the intersections is this particular area have sensor controlled lighting.
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RE: Flashing Yellow Arrow Traffic Signals

Mon May 27, 2013 5:03 pm

Quoting trav110 (Reply 26):

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 left
-flashing green light (for intersections with only a 3-lighted traffic signal)
-"Left Turn Signal" traffic light (a separate set of lights for left-turning traffic).

I've never seen flashing yellow lights. I have see advance right signals (a solid green arrow pointing right) which are common at busy intersections in Toronto.
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RE: Flashing Yellow Arrow Traffic Signals

Mon May 27, 2013 11:13 pm

Quoting jagflyer (Reply 28):

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 post before fully waking up  
 
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RE: Flashing Yellow Arrow Traffic Signals

Fri May 31, 2013 2:52 pm

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.

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 senior T-boned a guy on his motorcycle while they had been trying to make a left turn. Had tot life flight the guy out. They are making a mistake with this one. It can be confusing becasue we have generations that are used to the old style.
 
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RE: Flashing Yellow Arrow Traffic Signals

Fri May 31, 2013 3:02 pm

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 arrows for right hand turns, just depends on the junction.
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RE: Flashing Yellow Arrow Traffic Signals

Fri May 31, 2013 3:25 pm

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. It basically says you can go left, but be careful.
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Mir
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RE: Flashing Yellow Arrow Traffic Signals

Sat Jun 01, 2013 3:33 am

Quoting casinterest (Reply 32):
It basically says you can go left, but be careful.

That's what a green light means also. No need to reinvent the wheel.

-Mir
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RE: Flashing Yellow Arrow Traffic Signals

Sat Jun 01, 2013 5:01 am

Sounds like they're aiming for this:

http://xkcd.com/1116/
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RE: Flashing Yellow Arrow Traffic Signals

Sat Jun 01, 2013 2:39 pm

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 5):
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.
Quoting vikkyvik (Reply 7):
Not to mention, red-green colorblindness is the most common, and people seem to get around OK.

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 bit more caredul.

Quoting Geezer (Reply 14):
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.

I believe UPS has that policy and that they plot out the route with that in mind.
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RE: Flashing Yellow Arrow Traffic Signals

Mon Jun 03, 2013 1:49 am

Quoting Mir (Reply 33):
That's what a green light means also. No need to reinvent the wheel.

-Mir

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 quickly. There is also a need for intersections that specifically time the turn signal, and may eventually end the turn while green is active on the main traffic route.
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Mir
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RE: Flashing Yellow Arrow Traffic Signals

Mon Jun 03, 2013 3:14 am

Quoting casinterest (Reply 36):
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 quickly. There is also a need for intersections that specifically time the turn signal, and may eventually end the turn while green is active on the main traffic route.

All reasons to have a separate signal for the turn lane.

-Mir
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RE: Flashing Yellow Arrow Traffic Signals

Mon Jun 03, 2013 11:20 am

Quoting Mir (Reply 37):
All reasons to have a separate signal for the turn lane.


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 that is "controlled" by the intersection lights.

A green arrow means that your turn is protected; the opposing traffic has the red. A flashing yellow light means that your turn is not protected and the opposing traffic has the gree; you must yield to opposing traffic.

Learning to drive in NY, where I don't think I ever saw a protected turn lane; the green light never meant that your turn was protected...you always yielded to opposing traffic.
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Mir
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RE: Flashing Yellow Arrow Traffic Signals

Mon Jun 03, 2013 2:22 pm

Quoting fr8mech (Reply 38):
Learning to drive in NY, where I don't think I ever saw a protected turn lane; the green light never meant that your turn was protected...you always yielded to opposing traffic.

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.

Interestingly, the one place where I've seen a flashing yellow arrow in NYC is where there is no turn lane at all - all the traffic has to go left (or right if you're coming from the other direction, as two one-way streets run into each other at an intersection with a third one-way street). There's no reason they couldn't have kept the green light there - having the yellow is confusing for people who don't know the intersection.

-Mir
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fr8mech
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RE: Flashing Yellow Arrow Traffic Signals

Mon Jun 03, 2013 2:35 pm

Quoting Mir (Reply 39):
(or right if you're coming from the other direction, as two one-way streets run into each other at an intersection with a third one-way street).

You gotta love NY. I remeber running into a couple of those intersections.

Quoting Mir (Reply 39):
There's no reason they couldn't have kept the green light there

True, except that people are conditioned to assume that a green light means go, even though the drivers' manual in NY does say a left turn yields on green. A flashing yellow does denote "caution".
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RE: Flashing Yellow Arrow Traffic Signals

Mon Jun 03, 2013 2:39 pm

Quoting fr8mech (Reply 40):
True, except that people are conditioned to assume that a green light means go, even though the drivers' manual in NY does say a left turn yields on green.

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 go in a certain direction.

-Mir
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RE: Flashing Yellow Arrow Traffic Signals

Mon Jun 03, 2013 2:45 pm

Quoting Mir (Reply 41):
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 go in a certain direction.

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 yellow should insert a pause into that thinking. Note: I wrote "should".
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Mir
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RE: Flashing Yellow Arrow Traffic Signals

Mon Jun 03, 2013 3:02 pm

Quoting fr8mech (Reply 42):
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?

They both turn into the lanes closest to them.

-Mir
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RE: Flashing Yellow Arrow Traffic Signals

Mon Jun 03, 2013 4:56 pm

Quoting Mir (Reply 37):
All reasons to have a separate signal for the turn lane.

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 .

http://www.wral.com/traffic/story/8597637/

Quoting Mir (Reply 43):
They both turn into the lanes closest to them.
Older than I just was ,and younger than I will soo be.

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