Safety and Traffic Engineering

Flashing Yellow Arrow Signals

Across Rhode Island we are planning to make use of a new type of signal that uses a flashing yellow arrow. At first glance they don't look much different compared with a traditional signal with a left-turn arrow, but they have been proven to improve safety and move traffic more efficiently at intersections.

Why Use Them

Safety: A national study demonstrated drivers had fewer crashes with flashing yellow left-turn arrows than with traditional signals.

Minimize Delays: Motorists have more opportunities to make a left turn with the flashing yellow left-turn arrow than with the traditional yielding left-turn indications, which keeps traffic moving.

Flexiblty: The new yellow flashing turn display provides more options to most effectively handle all types of traffic volume and reduce traffic back-ups.

How They Work

A flashing yellow arrow means left turns are permitted, but you must first yield to oncoming traffic and pedestrians and then proceed with caution. The flashing yellow arrow does not replace the solid yellow arrow and it’s meaning; it does replace the green “ball” indication as a signal for a yielding left turn.

Drivers should always remember: a flashing yellow = turn with caution.