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Flashing Yellow Turn Arrows

Flashing yellow turn signals are a new national standard in intersections with a separate left-turn arrow. The signals have been installed in many locations throughout Fort Worth and the rest of the country, but many drivers have not encountered them.

If the new signals make you think your driver's education knowledge is on the blink, here's a quick primer on what to do at these lights and their benefits.

How they work

Flashing Yellow Arrow

When the yellow arrow is flashing, drivers are allowed to turn, but must yield to oncoming traffic and pedestrians. Enter the intersection cautiously and proceed when there is enough space to turn safely.

Solid Yellow Arrow

Once a flashing yellow arrow turns solid, it means the same as a regular yellow light: Vehicles should clear the intersection by completing their turn, and drivers not already in the intersection should stop.

Benefits

The Federal Highway Administration conducted a 10-year study on flashing yellow left-turn arrows, and the study concluded that the lights helped prevent crashes. Other benefits include:

Keeping traffic moving

Flashing yellow arrows have been found to reduce wait times at lights by 28 percent over traditional left turn signals.

Making turning safer

For drivers, green means go. Even though all drivers know that they must yield to oncoming traffic unless they have a protected green arrow, seeing green means many drivers just hit the gas. The flashing yellow light sends a clear signal to be careful.

Improving air quality (and gas mileage)

More time spent driving instead of idling at a traffic light reduces fuel consumption by 10 percent, and even drops vehicle emissions by 22 percent.