Mount Vernon, Lawrence County - Southwest Missouri drivers soon will encounter a new type of traffic signal indication - flashing yellow left-turn arrows -- with the first installation on Route 39 at Interstate 44 in Mount Vernon, the Missouri Department of Transportation said.
The traffic signal equipment will be modified and the new flashing yellow left-turn arrows are scheduled to be activated by mid-December, depending on weather conditions, on Route 39 at the I-44 ramps (Mile Marker 46).
The changeover will take place after morning rush hour.
How It Works
Drivers getting a flashing yellow left-turn arrow can make a left turn, but only after first yielding to oncoming vehicles and pedestrians, which have the right of way.
A sign mounted next to the left-turn signal display will explain the meaning of the flashing yellow arrow, saying, "Left Turn Yield On Flashing Arrow."
When the flashing yellow left-turn arrow stops flashing and becomes a steady yellow left-turn arrow, drivers should treat the non-flashing yellow left-turn arrow just like a standard yellow signal and prepare to stop before the red light appears.
More Flashing Yellow Left-Turn Arrows Coming
Under a change in federal traffic regulations, Missouri is gradually switching to flashing yellow left-turn arrows at intersections which now have a circular green light for yielding left turns.
While the Route 39 and I-44 intersection in Mount Vernon will be the first location in MoDOT's Southwest District, MoDOT is already using this type of left-turn indication elsewhere in Missouri, including Lebanon. The first ones in the state were installed in the St. Louis area starting in October 2006.
More are on the way:
Other traffic signals on the state road system in Mount Vernon will be converted to flashing yellow left-turn arrows in the next calendar year.
Additional southwest Missouri state highway intersections will be converted as well in the coming year, including several intersections along East 7th Street (Bus. Loop 44/Route 66) in Duquesne and Joplin.
Any new signals put up in the region allowing a yielding left-turn will be installed with flashing yellow left-turn arrows.
A Safety Measure
Use of flashing yellow left-turn arrows is considered an improvement to safety at signalized intersections. It provides a more direct message of caution to drivers to yield to oncoming traffic than does the circular green light.
MoDOT/Southwest Traffic Engineer Joe Rickman said national studies show "the flashing yellow left-turn arrow had fewer crashes than the traditional green ball yielding left-turn indication."
Remember: A flashing yellow left-turn arrow means you must yield to oncoming through-traffic and turn left cautiously only when you see an opening in the traffic coming toward you.
For more information: Flashing Yellow Left-Turns
Follow MoDOT's Southwest District: Facebook: MoDOT.Southwest, Twitter: MoDOT_Southwest and Google +: +MoDOT/Southwest District