New traffic signals designed to improve safety and increase traffic flow — especially for left turns — have been installed this week on Highway 21.
The new signals, known as four-section flashing yellow arrow (FYA) traffic lights, will provide an extended period of time for motorists to turn left after yielding to any oncoming traffic, according to the Georgia Department of Transportation.
FYA signals are being deployed at the intersections with historic heavy left-turning traffic volumes; the Highway 21 and Highway 275/Ebenezer Road/Rahn Station Road intersection is the first to have the existing signals replaced with new FYA signals.
The signals were placed in operation immediately upon installation.
“The flashing yellow arrow primary purpose is to reduce the often-devastating right angle crashes that occur when drivers turning left are struck by oncoming traffic,” said Cynthia Phillips, district traffic engineer. “This new traffic signal design will give drivers a clear picture of when they may turn left, when to proceed with caution, and when they should prepare to stop.”
The new “flashing yellow arrow” component of the signals applies exclusively to drivers making left turns. The signal configuration will be a vertical display of four left turn arrows functioning as follows:
• When solid red arrow is illuminated, no left turn is allowed;
• When solid yellow arrow is displayed, drivers should prepare to stop as light is about to turn red;
• When flashing yellow arrow is illuminated, drivers may turn left but must yield to pedestrians and oncoming vehicles; and
• When solid green arrow is displayed, drivers may turn left.
Federal Highway Administration studies have shown these signals help reduce crashes of left-turning vehicles by as much as 35 percent. The FYA also offers clearer guidance to drivers turning left and allows them more movement through the intersection when no pedestrians or oncoming traffic are present, thereby reducing back-ups, engine idling and auto emissions.
FYA signals now are Georgia DOT’s preferred left turn traffic signal for eligible locations — those with high numbers of left-turn movements and resultant traffic back-ups and related accidents. In addition to the Georgia DOT locations, cities and counties throughout the state can identify eligible locations and apply to the Department for permits for the new traffic signals.