Flashing Yellow Arrow Turn Signals

Palm Beach County’s Traffic Division installed new Flashing Yellow Arrows (FYA) traffic signals on all 4 approaches to the intersection of Greenview Shores Blvd and Wellington Trace. 

At FYA signals, drivers must yield to oncoming traffic and pedestrians and then proceed to make a left turn with caution. They remind motorists to not only watch for a safe gap in opposing traffic but also, to watch out for any pedestrians that may be in a conflicting crosswalk. 

The FYA traffic signal has been used nationwide for more than 10 years, including in more than 100 locations in Florida.  Palm Beach County began installing FYAs in 2019.  The new signals provide multiple benefits to motorists and pedestrians. According to national data provided by the Federal Highway Administration, FYA signals can reduce left-turn crashes as much as 20%, they keep traffic moving by offering drivers more opportunities to make left turns and they are easier to understand for motorists as to when to make a left turn. 

In this video, the Florida Department of Transportation explains the benefits of the Flashing Yellow Arrows.

HOW DOES A FLASHING LEFT-TURN ARROW 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 its meaning. Drivers should always remember a flashing yellow = turn with caution.

HOW SHOULD DRIVERS APPROACH A FLASHING YELLOW LEFT-TURN SIGNAL?

Drivers should stop at the intersection and yield to oncoming traffic. If and when it is safe, make your left turn and proceed through the intersection. When the available time for the flashing yellow arrow ends, the solid yellow left-turn arrow begins. The solid yellow retains its standard meaning: the left turn signal is about to go to red and they should prepare to stop, or prepare to complete their left turn if they are in the intersection.

WHY NOT USE A SOLID GREEN LIGHT INSTEAD OF THE FLASHING YELLOW ARROW?

The solid green light is often misunderstood as a left turn indicator. This is because drivers naturally think "green means go." Traffic making a left turn on a solid green light sometimes does not yield to oncoming traffic, which can result in more crashes.

The flashing yellow arrow allows left turns but at the same time communicates the "caution" message to drivers. The flashing yellow arrow is especially effective at intersections with high volumes of traffic.

WHY USE THE FLASHING YELLOW ARROW?

Safer: A national study demonstrated drivers had fewer crashes with the flashing yellow left-turn arrow than with the traditional, yielding left-turn indication.

Less delay: Motorists have more opportunities to make a left turn with the flashing yellow left-turn arrow than with the traditional, yielding left-turn indication, which keeps you moving.

More flexible: The new display provides traffic engineers with more options to handle variable traffic volumes.

Flashing yellow arrows mean that left turns are allowed, but drivers must yield to oncoming traffic and pedestrians. Flashing yellow arrows can also be used for right turns.