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The City of Danville is updating traffic signals at three intersections to include a new type of signal with a flashing yellow arrow for left turns. A national study shows these arrows create a safer, more efficient left-hand turn.
These turn signals are located at the following intersections:
“Safety is the biggest factor in choosing these intersections,” Lee Farley, traffic control superintendent for the Public Works Department, said Thursday. “We used the criteria of speed and the volume of straight-through traffic.”
The traffic signal at Central Boulevard at Watson Street is being updated this afternoon. The new signals at the other two intersections were put in place on Wednesday.
With the new flashing yellow arrow, the traffic signal heads for the left turn lanes at these intersections now consist of four signal indications:
A comprehensive, seven-year study completed by the National Cooperative Highway Research Program on behalf of the Federal Highway Administration found that drivers made fewer mistakes in making left turns when flashing yellow arrow signals were in place in left turn lanes instead of the traditional circular green ball in left turn lanes. The research determined that motorists better understood the flashing yellow arrow because the turn lane display is no longer the same indication as the adjacent through lanes.
Other agencies also have performed studies that concluded the use of flashing yellow arrows can result in a significant percentage reduction in left turn-related crashes.
In addition to greater safety, the new signals reduce time sitting in the intersection for motorists wanting to turn left since they have more opportunity to make that turn. Instead of waiting for a green arrow to turn, motorists can now turn on a flashing yellow arrow as long as they yield to oncoming traffic.
The flashing yellow arrow is a standard configuration in the Manual for Uniform Traffic Control Devices and has been implemented in most states.
This project, which cost $45,000, is fully funded through the Virginia Department of Transportation’s highway safety improvement program.
Here is a video link to a public service announcement from the Virginia Department of Transportation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SAeI2UMo6jI