Flashing Yellow Left-Turn Arrow

In a continuing effort to improve traffic safety and congestion in Chesapeake, the Public Works Department has installed new flashing yellow arrow left-turn signals at select intersections throughout the City.

Why the Change?

  • Safety: A national study showed that drivers had fewer crashes when using the flashing yellow arrow left-turn signal than with the traditional circle green left-turn signal because drivers perceive any green signal to mean Go.
  • Less Delay: Motorists have more opportunities to turn left with the flashing yellow left-turn arrow.
  • Flexibility: The flashing yellow left-turn arrow gives the Traffic Engineering Division more flexibility to handle variable traffic volumes throughout the day.

Signal Meanings

Signal DescriptionSignal Example ImageMeaning of Signal
Steady Red ArrowSteady Red ArrowDrivers turning left must stop and wait.
Steady Yellow ArrowSteady Yellow ArrowThe left-turn signal is about to turn red. Do not enter the intersection if you can stop safely. Complete your left turn if you are already within the intersection.
Flashing Yellow ArrowFlashing Yellow ArrowYield to oncoming traffic and pedestrians and then turn left when safe to do so. Oncoming traffic has a green light.
Steady Green ArrowSteady Green ArrowDrivers can proceed with the left turn. Oncoming traffic has a red light and must stop.

The Traditional Left-Turn Signals

Traditional Left SignalDrivers equate red, yellow and green with very specific actions:

  • Red - stop
  • Yellow - prepare to stop
  • Green - go

When the green circle is illuminated on a traditional left-turn signal like the one shown above, this signals to drivers that a left turn is permissible when safe to do so. However, studies show that many drivers just see "Go" when anything green is illuminated. The new flashing yellow left-turn signals are shown to be safer.

Flashing Yellow Arrows Brochure (PDF)