Flashing yellow arrows will be installed at several traffic signals in the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula to help drivers turn left safely against oncoming traffic.
Traffic signal equipment will be fitted with flashing yellow arrows by the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and its contractor at the following intersections in late February and March, weather permitting:
·Route 3 and Route 200, Lancaster County – Sunday, Feb. 25 and Monday, Feb. 26
· Route 200, Route 688 and Route 1036, Lancaster County – Tuesday, Feb. 27 and Wednesday, Feb. 28
· Route 33, Route 227 and Route 641, Middlesex County – Thursday, March 1 and Friday, March 2
· Route 3 and Route 360 East Bypass, Richmond County – Sunday, March 4, Monday, March 5 and Tuesday, March 6
All signal work will occur during overnight hours. Traffic will be able to pass through the intersection during each installation. Motorists can anticipate single lane closures between 7 p.m. and 5 a.m. for two or three consecutive evenings while signal work is underway. Virginia State Police will assist with traffic control in the work zone.
What Drivers Will See
Signal heads at these intersections will display four arrows. The new flashing yellow arrow informs drivers that they have permission to make a left turn when it is safe to do so, but that oncoming traffic has the right-of-way.
Deciding whether to turn left against oncoming traffic is among the most challenging and high-risk decisions for drivers, according to the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP). Motorists must assess the speed and distance of the approaching traffic as they make the decision to turn left.
The research program initiated a study that assessed how drivers interpret symbols and signs for left turns, and found that a flashing yellow arrow was safer, better understood and obeyed more frequently.
VDOT has created a video demonstrating how to drive through a signal with a flashing yellow signal: