Flashing Yellow – Traffic Signals

New left-turn signal: Flashing Yellow Arrow

The new flashing yellow arrow traffic signal replaces the green circle indicator and offers a safer, more efficient way for a motorist to make a left turn.

The left arrow provides a more direct message to the driver and reduces confusion since the left-turn display is no longer the same symbol as the adjacent through lanes. It also prevents a driver turning left on a green circle from inadvertently implying that the left turn has the right-of-way over the opposing traffic.

What do the arrows mean?

Solid Green Arrow

A steady green arrow indicates that drivers making a left turn have the right-of-way.

Oncoming traffic has a red light.

Flashing Yellow Arrow

A flashing yellow arrow indicates that drivers may proceed to turn left after yielding to oncoming traffic and pedestrians.

Oncoming traffic has a green light, so drivers must wait for a safe gap in traffic before turning left.

Solid Yellow Arrow

A solid yellow arrow indicates that the left-turn signal is about to turn red. Drivers should prepare to stop or complete the left turn if they are within the intersection and there is no conflicting traffic. Drivers should treat the solid yellow arrow just like a standard yellow ball indication.

Solid Red Arrow

A solid red arrow indicates that drivers must stop and may not enter the intersection.

What makes the flashing yellow arrow a better signal?

A national study conducted for the Federal Highway Administration demonstrated that this new signal indication:

  • Helps to prevent crashes. The study concluded that drivers found the new flashing yellow arrows easier to understand than the traditional yield-on-green indications.
  • Increases the amount of traffic that moves through an intersection. There are more opportunities to make a left turn with the flashing yellow arrow than the fully protected left turn indication with only a green arrow.
  • Provides more flexibility. The new signal provides more options for traffic engineers to handle variable traffic volumes and patterns.

What should a motorist do when approaching a traffic signal with a flashing yellow arrow?

  • Yield to oncoming traffic and pedestrians.
  • When it is safe, proceed with caution through the intersection.
  • After it stops flashing and becomes a solid yellow arrow, prepare to stop or complete the left turn if you are within the intersection and there is no conflicting traffic.

Where can these new traffic signals be found?

The flashing yellow arrow signals can be found at many intersections in Overland Park and at locations throughout the Kansas City metro area.