In the last year Nassau County NY has been updating traffic signals at intersections with all new hardware. Many are located where red light cameras are.
One example is an intersection between a four-lane state road and a two-lane road. The two-lane road has a green in one direction and then the other. The opposite sides have a steady red signal as well as a left turn arrow flashing yellow while traffic is proceeding in the opposite direction.
This is the first time I have seen a red signal with a flashing yellow arrow anywhere in the U.S. or Canada. Does this arrow give permission to proceed through a red light? This is not in the NY State driver's manual.
I tested it by driving through the red light to make a left turn and, months later, no ticket has been sent.
Anybody else see this?
Yes, I have seen it. The flashing yellow arrow indicates the turn is allowed as long as you yield to oncoming traffic.
Isn't that behavior always the case unless there's signage/signals that say no left turn?
Here in IL if the above does not exist, it's ok to turn left once oncoming traffic has passed. Up north in WI, it's a mix of the above and flashing yellow left arrows. Seems confusing to have 2 standards for the same thing.
See https://www.dot.ny.gov/regional-offices/region9/other-topics... for what New York State says about it.
One caution, I'm aware of some people that have been in the middle of the intersection while the yellow turn is flashing, then it turns red, the car goes quickly and they get caught by a camera as going through the red. So the best thing is to wait well back until traffic permits you to make that left on yellow.
In my area they upgrading lights along one road I travel everyday. The flashing yellow is something new to me, first seeing it a few weeks ago.
Here it does not flash while the light is red. The sequence is this with forward traffic at red, left green arrow, left yellow arrow, left red arrow, then the forward traffic gets the green and the left yellow arrow flashes, no left red arrow.
Not sure how other states/places have their RLC's set up but in Philadelphia the camera will only flash if you cross the stop line while the light is red. Being " in the middle of the intersection " would not generate a photo.
That is an issue with the camera and if you look up the statue it will say on Yellow proceed unless it is unsafe to do so.
If you are in the intersection while the light is yellow, they can't rightly charge you for it. It must be shown that you were NOT in the intersection before the RED light and that you moved into it AFTER the light turned red.
John's link from the NY State DOT says a lot about flashing yellow left turn arrows, but the steady red light is not mentioned. That is what concerns me most.
I am also worried that the flashing arrow along with steady red will confuse people especially at red light camera intersections.
The flashing yellow left arrow never turns to a steady red arrow. It just disappears, leaving the steady red light.
So a solid red - can't go straight and a flashing yellow- proceed with caution
Right, but proceed with caution to turn left.
Never have I seen anything like that and I'll admit I certainly would not know how to proceed. So I think I'd just sit and wait until I have a green light before proceeding.
I think the concept is to stop the through (oncoming) traffic from both directions to allow the waiting left turns to proceed. It makes sense if you watch it in action.
So this is another one of those solutions in search of a problem deals??
Out here, there are several intersections with left turn signals. However, the order of things is different. After cross traffic gets the red, through traffic gets the green. Turn lane stays red. After some time, through traffic gets red, turn lane gets green.
I think combining an intersection where cars can freely turn on green with red for through traffic makes sense. Would be too confusing.
Here is one of the new flashing yellow arrow lights (18 second youtube video) I had mentioned before.
The darkness and my smartphone camera didn't play very well, you can't tell they are arrows, so here's the layout. The far left signal is for left turns.
There are 4 lights.
Top: a red arrow pointing left.
2nd: a yellow arrow pointing left (this one is steady).
3rd: a yellow arrow pointing left (this one flashes).
4th: a green arrow pointing left.
A national study demonstrated that drivers found flashing yellow left-turn arrows more understandable than just the yield-on-green sign
Good find (both links).
As more states start or expand their use of these signals, it's time to accept them and follow the rules as so concisely explained in the 2nd link.
Thanks, the youtube link is my video, I took it on the way to work. This morning I took a still shot, you can see that here:
what we have here. Cross traffic is red and left turns get a green arrow and in certain locations left turns from both directions go then the arrow turns yellow then shuts off and through traffic goes in both directions.
Having said all that I think Mexico has a better solution. They have the main road and a lateral road. There are NO turns from the main road and every so often they have switch over lane from main to lateral. You MUST be in the lateral road to make a left turn on the proper left turn signal. You also must be in the lateral for a right turn!
This is an interesting thread and a good read. I'm following this one. Thanks for posting.
I had missed your Youtube link and just had a look at it. Yes that is exactly how we have many intersections.
Green arrow left turn N and S, E and W stopped on red.
On a similar note, here in PA (and I'm sure in other states as well) we have a "right on red law". Obviously, this permits making a right turn when the light is red. At some intersections however there are separate traffic lights for making a right turn.
It seems to me, since there isn't a "no turn on red" sign posted, many drivers in PA ignore this right turn light and make a right turn when both lights are red. These drivers don't understand that this is breaking the law.
More than half the time when I'm stopped waiting to make a right with the right turn light red, the person behind me honks his horn. I have to resist the urge to get out and give the person a driving lesson!
These right turn lights have been around for many years and so far, I have never seen anyone cited for a right turn violation at one of these intersections.
I'll admit, the law is a bit confusing but it's the law nonetheless.
30 years ago, one of my college classes taught us that red arrows were to be avoided since they call for both action (arrow) and no action (red, stop). a couple decades later, DOTs started using them on intersections and i had to laugh to myself.
right turn reds were a just a red ball and the driver in the right lane was supposed to use their judgement as to whether it was safe to turn (right turns on red are legal in TX). The first time i saw a red ball over a green arrow, i had to do a double take.
While I think right turn on red as a general rule is the law almost everywhere except New York City, here in New Mexico they expressly put up signage at certain intersections saying that no right turn on red is allowed for this particular location.
In some of the locations compliance is pretty spotty. I am not sure whether the offending drivers just don't see the sign, or don't care.
In IL, right turn on red is permitted unless otherwise posted. Of course the driver must come to a complete stop before the white line before making the turn. I don't know about stopping before the white line unless there is a camera. One must yield to through traffic first.
We're seeing more traffic circles pop up closer to the metro area. I think they're great for low volume intersections.
Now if those damn cyclists would learn they can't occupy the whole lane riding 5 abreast holding up traffic.
In about the last year in Washington state (Seattle-Tacoma area) many lights that have left turns have switched to this but not all.
Here is a link that explains it...
Not sure about anywhere else, and I'm not sure many people realize it here in Pennsylvania, but if you are on a one way street you can turn left on red if you are turning onto another one way street, same rules the right turn on red, unless there is sign prohibiting it.
In Texas we only get a flashing yellow on a green light. However, most intersections have a left turn signal that you have to wait for a green arrow. Kinda bites that you can't yield to turn left when through traffic has a green light.
here in Pennsylvania, but if you are on a one way street you can turn left on red if you are turning onto another one way street, same rules the right turn on red, unless there is sign prohibiting it.
The New Mexico statutes contain this 66-7-105, C2, which says “…if a left turn onto a one-way street in the proper direction is intended, (vehicles) may turn left after stopping until the intersection may be entered safely, provided that such vehicular traffic shall yield the right-of-way to all pedestrians and vehicles lawfully in or approaching the intersection.”
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