All drivers in Greenville will soon benefit from a new style of traffic signal designed to improve safety. The South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) began using the new signal, commonly called a Flashing Yellow Arrow (FYA), in Columbia, and since then, its use has spread across the state. Weather permitting, the first FYA in Greenville is scheduled to be installed on Wednesday, November 4 at the intersection of Laurens Road and Henderson Road. Because the FYA is a SCDOT adopted standard, going forward, all new left-turn signals installed on state roads in the city will be equipped with FYAs.
The FYA is part of a four-section signal head that includes:
• A steady red arrow, which means STOP. Drivers turning left must stop.
• A steady yellow arrow, which means the signal is getting ready to turn to red. Drivers turning left should stop if it is safe to do so.
• A flashing yellow arrow, which means left-turns are permitted. Drivers may turn left but must first yield to oncoming traffic and pedestrians and then proceed with caution.
• A steady green arrow, which means left-turns are protected. Drivers may turn left. Conflicting traffic must stop.
According to Valerie Holmes, Assistant City Engineer – Traffic Engineering, the growing use of FYA left-turn signal heads is the result of a national study conducted for the Federal Highway Administration, which demonstrated that the new signals help to prevent crashes, move more traffic through an intersection and provide additional traffic management flexibility. The FYA left-turn signal heads are designed to make it easier for drivers to perceive when to make a left turn maneuver by providing a visual cue for what to do, and at what point. The study found that drivers made fewer mistakes with the new signals than with traditional left-turn arrow signals. In addition to being safer, they also found that the FYAs were more efficient, providing traffic engineers with more options to handle variable traffic volumes.