Minnesota Department of Transportation

511 Travel Info

News Release

Nov. 17, 2017

MnDOT District 7 installs new flashing yellow arrows on traffic signals in south central Minnesota

MANKATO, Minn. – As the Minnesota Department of Transportation wraps up construction for the 2017 season on projects throughout south central Minnesota, motorists may increasingly see new flashing yellow arrows appearing on traffic signals.

These traffic signals feature a flashing yellow arrow in addition to the standard red, yellow and green arrows. When illuminated, the flashing yellow arrow allows waiting motorists to make a left-hand turn after yielding to oncoming traffic. This signal helps motorists make a safer and more efficient left-turn with fewer delays.

When the flashing yellow arrow displays, drivers are allowed to turn left after yielding to all oncoming traffic and to any pedestrians in the crosswalk. It is important to note that when the flashing yellow arrow is being displayed, oncoming traffic has a green light and drivers must wait for a safe gap in oncoming traffic before turning. Flashing yellow arrow signals have been shown to help drivers make fewer mistakes. They keep motorists safer during heavy traffic and reduce delays when traffic is light. A national study demonstrated that drivers found flashing yellow left-turn arrows more understandable than traditional yield-on-green indications (individual traffic signal lights).

Additionally, the new traffic signals provide traffic engineers with more options to handle variable traffic volumes. The flashing yellow arrow may be used at any intersection at any time, but the most typical use will be at intersections and times-of-day that have lower volumes, lower speeds and other favorable conditions. 

Flashing yellow arrow traffic signals were recently added along Highway 15 in Fairmont and New Ulm. They were deployed earlier in Mankato and Worthington. More information can be found at http://www.dot.state.mn.us/trafficeng/signals/flashingyellowarrow.html

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