CARTERSVILLE, Ga. – A new traffic signal designed to improve safety and increase traffic flow – especially for left-turn movements – is coming to the busy intersection of State Route (SR) 3/US 41 and Mac Johnson Road in Bartow County and eventually throughout the state as a component of the Regional Traffic Operations Program (RTOP) and “Quick Fix” initiatives of the Georgia Department of Transportation.
The new traffic light is called Four-Section Flashing Yellow Arrow (FYA) signals that will be deployed at intersections with historic heavy left-turning traffic volumes. The FYA signals will apply exclusively to drivers making left turns. The signal will be a vertical display of four left turn arrows functioning as follows (and displayed in the attachment):
- 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
- When solid Green arrow is displayed, drivers may turn left.
This new signal should become operational by 9 a.m. on Wednesday, December 10, 2014.
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.
“We believe this will help drivers wanting to make a left turn better understand when they can do so freely, when they may proceed with their turn cautiously, and when they may not turn left,” Georgia DOT District 6 Engineer DeWayne Comer said. “Our primary purpose is to reduce the often-devastating angle crashes that result when a left-turning vehicle is struck by oncoming traffic.”
Comer said FYA will now be 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 will identify eligible locations and apply to the Department for permits for the new traffic signals.
During heavy traffic volume the traffic signal may skip the flashing yellow phase to increase safety at the intersection. It is important that drivers not try to anticipate what the traffic signal is about to do; just “drive and obey the signal.”
If the traffic signal has a malfunction the left turn will flash red. As with all signalized intersections, a flashing red is treated as a stop condition and flashing yellow is treated as proceed with caution. If all indications at an intersection are flashing red or the intersection is dark it should be treated as a four-way stop.
RTOP is the Department’s program for maximizing traffic safety and flow by such efforts as ramp meters, synchronized corridor traffic signals, variable speed limits, etc. An award-winning congestion and traffic reduction program, RTOP partners with local jurisdictions in metro Atlanta to maximize travel on major corridors.
The Quick Fix initiative delivers low-cost, high-yield projects that offer immediate benefit to communities and their citizens, such as adding turn lanes, widening roadways, intersection upgrades, etc.