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PennDOT announces first use of flashing yellow arrow signals in Mercer County

January 30, 2019 12:00 AM
By: Jill Harry

Mercer County recently got its first flashing yellow arrow signals, which are proven to improve left turn safety.

The signals were placed at the intersections of East State Street and Ellis Avenue, and East State Street and North Kerrwood Drive/ South Kerrwood Drive, both in the City of Hermitage. They officially were turned on January 15 and 16. 

Flashing yellow arrow signals were first introduced in Pennsylvania in 2016, and have become commonplace in many states across the United States over the last 10 years. Based on many national studies and transportation agency testimonials, these signals improve left-turning safety by helping motorists recognize that they should yield while making left turns when there is oncoming traffic and pedestrians.  

According to research funded by the Federal Highway Administration, left turn crashes can be reduced by as much as 20 percent after the installation of the flashing yellow arrow signal. Also, these signals can be adjusted depending on the time of day, reducing delays and improving mobility. 

The current signal configuration features a green left arrow to allow left turns followed by a yellow arrow and then a circular green indication. The new configuration will feature four left turn arrows:

  • Steady green left arrow meaning the left turn is protected and oncoming traffic is to stop.
  • Flashing yellow arrow meaning drivers must yield to oncoming traffic and pedestrians before completing the left turn.
  • Steady yellow arrow meaning left turns should stop because the signal is about to change to red.
  • Steady red arrow meaning left turns must stop and cannot proceed.

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