Flashing Yellow Arrow Traffic Signals

Flashing yellow arrow traffic signals feature a flashing yellow arrow in addition to the standard red, yellow, and green arrows. When illuminated, the flashing yellow arrow allows waiting motorists to make a left-hand turn after yielding to oncoming traffic. Otherwise, the new traffic signals work the same as traditional signals.

Flashing yellow arrow signals have been shown to help drivers make fewer mistakes. They keep motorists safer during heavy traffic and reduce delays when traffic is light. A national study demonstrated that drivers found flashing yellow left-turn arrows more understandable than traditional yield-on-green indications.

The new traffic signals provide traffic engineers with more options to handle a variety of traffic volumes. 

Motorists will eventually encounter the new flashing yellow arrow traffic signals on all state roadways across Louisiana at locations where a protected left turn already exists, as part of a federal standard for implementation of the signals. 

What the arrows mean:

  • Solid red arrow: Drivers intending to turn left must stop and wait. Do not enter an intersection to turn when a solid red arrow is being displayed.
  • Solid yellow arrow: The left-turn signal is about to change to red and drivers should prepare to stop or prepare to complete a left turn if they are legally within the intersection and there is no conflicting traffic present.
  • Flashing yellow arrow: Drivers are allowed to turn left after yielding to all oncoming traffic and to any pedestrians in the crosswalk. Oncoming traffic has a green light. Drivers must wait for a safe gap in the oncoming traffic before turning.
  • Solid green arrow: Left turns have the right of way. Oncoming traffic has a red light.

Background information on Flashing Yellow Arrow traffic signals:

In December 2009, after extensive testing, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) authorized the use of flashing yellow arrows nationwide. These signals have already been installed and are in use in several other states. 

To watch a video explaining the operation of the flashing yellow arrows, click here.