The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) announced that tomorrow, Wednesday, June 20, 2012, it will activate a flashing yellow arrow traffic signal at the intersection of Langworthy Road and Route 1 (Post Road) in Westerly.
This is the second flashing yellow arrow signal RIDOT has installed in Rhode Island. Motorists across the state will start seeing more flashing yellow signals as RIDOT completes intersection improvement projects. Departments of transportation across the country are embracing flashing yellow arrow signals at intersections with certain types of left-turn signals to improve safety and move traffic more efficiently.
The signal will replace an existing traffic light at this intersection as part of a $2.5 million resurfacing project for Dunn's Corner Road and this intersection. The signal will aid drivers making left turns from Langworthy Road northbound onto Route 1 South.
The new signal improves the existing left-turn signal by adding a flashing yellow arrow to the sequence of lights. Drivers still get a green arrow, indicating they can turn left while protected from oncoming traffic. When that time is over, the signal shows a yellow arrow, telling drivers that the signal is changing and they need to get ready to stop. The light then shows a flashing yellow arrow, which signals to drivers that they can proceed if the intersection is clear. Oncoming traffic has a green light during a flashing yellow arrow. The sequence typically ends by showing a steady yellow arrow followed by a steady red arrow, requiring a full stop.
National studies have found that intersections with flashing yellow arrow signals have fewer crashes as compared with traditional signals. Flashing yellow arrow signals also have been installed to minimize delay by providing more opportunities to make left turns.
RIDOT has developed a website (www.dot.ri.gov/engineering/trafficdesign/flashingyellowarrow.asp) to help explain the operation of this new technology. The page also contains links to other DOT websites that feature animations and videos showing how flashing yellow arrow signals work.
Motorists with questions can contact RIDOT's Customer Service office at 401-222-2450 weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Additional information may be available on RIDOT's Twitter and Facebook sites.