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Oregon Traffic Lights: What’s with the Flashing Yellow Left-Turn Arrows?


Joseph Rose, over at the Oregonian’s Commuting blog (aka Hard Drive) answers the question we are all asking. No, not that question or this one; the other one, this one:

What’s with the Flashing Yellow Arrows and how are they different from the not-flashing yellow and red lights?

Excerpt from: Of cleanups and flashing yellow arrows, by Joseph Rose, The Oregonian, February 01, 2010:

“… Relatively new to American roads and designed to improve traffic flow at congested intersections, the left-turn arrows have popped up at 18 Washington County intersections in the past few months.

Installed to the left of traditional signals, often on a tall pole in the middle of intersections, each FYA has the three normal signal stages: steady red, steady yellow and steady green.

But some motorists feel a little dizzy when they see the fourth stage: flashing yellow. “People honk at me to go,” Dixon said. “But the rest of the traffic is stopped.”

Here’s what you do: When you see the flashing yellow arrow, proceed with a left turn after yielding to oncoming traffic and pedestrians. The steady yellow arrow and steady red arrow work the same as always….“ (Link to full article, if you dare. We hear that the OregonLive website is going to be updated and improved – we can only hope.)

You can also read Understanding the Flashing Yellow Left-Turn Arrow at the Oregon Department of Transportation website, pictures and all!

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