Do Flashing Yellow Turn Lights Confuse Motorists?

Spencer Law Group Aug. 21, 2019

Flashing Yellow Lights

Left-hand turns are dangerous. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 36 percent of collisions occur at intersections. Left turns are the most common cause of these accidents.

Traditionally, circular green signals are utilized at intersections to inform drivers they must yield to oncoming traffic when turning left. However, flashing yellow arrow signals are gradually being phased in to replace them across the United States. These new signals are supposed to be safer and more efficient, but may confuse motorists unfamiliar with them.

How Flashing Yellow Arrows Work

Traditional green turn signals are being replaced with yellow ones in an effort to make turning safer. Many drivers automatically equate the color green with permission to go, regardless of whether there’s oncoming traffic. A flashing yellow light, on the other hand, sends a clear warning to be careful.

Flashing yellow turn signals have a separate left-turn arrow, which flashes when drivers are permitted to turn. However, motorists are required to yield to oncoming traffic and pedestrians, only proceeding when there’s sufficient space to turn safely. Once the flashing yellow arrow turns solid, a vehicle already in the intersection should complete the turn, but any cars not yet in the intersection should stop.

The Duty of Care

Drivers have a duty of care toward other motorists and pedestrians, and this includes a duty to yield to oncoming traffic. They also have a responsibility to understand and obey all traffic signals. When they fail to do so, they’re guilty of negligence, and may be held liable for the property damage and injuries they cause.

If you were injured in a vehicle accident when another driver made an inappropriate turn, you deserve compensation for your property damage, medical bills, loss of income, and pain and suffering. For more information make sure to contact Spencer Law Group.