Flashing Yellow Left Turn Arrow

What is a Flashing Yellow Left Turn Arrow? 

Flashing Yellow Arrow Info 300x350As part of its Traffic Signal Modernization Project, in February 2023 the Town will convert left turn signal heads from green circular indicators to flashing yellow left turn arrows (FYA) at the intersections of Diablo Road-El Pintado Road and Diablo Road-Front Street in the downtown area. A flashing yellow left turn arrow functions that same as the traditional green circular indicator (yield on green) meaning that you must yield to oncoming traffic and pedestrians. 

Traffic signals equipped with flashing yellow left-turn arrows have been shown to reduce collisions involving non-protected (or “permitted when clear”) left turn movements where motorists are allowed to make their left turn only when approaching opposing vehicular traffic, bicyclists, and pedestrians in the crosswalk are clear of the intersection. 

How to Use 

As with circular yield on green signals, the FYA means to turn with caution, after yielding to oncoming motor vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians. 

  1. Before entering the intersection, look left and look straight ahead. Do you see oncoming traffic, bicyclists or pedestrians? If so, provide them the right-of-way. 
  2. Once you determine it is safe to do so, make your left turn. 
  3. After the flashing yellow left-turn arrow you will see the traditional solid yellow left-turn arrow. The solid yellow left-turn arrow means what it has always meant in that the signal is about to turn red and you should prepare to stop.


FYA’s are utilized regularly throughout the United States, including California. In 2009, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) authorized use of FYAs after extensive analysis. Subsequent studies have been conducted, such as through the National Cooperative Highway Research Program, that have found that use of FYAs result in better motorist conformance and fewer accidents than the traditional yield-on-green signal configurations for left turns. The FYA left-turn signal is a included in both the State of California and Federal Highway Administration’s Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD): the standard for signs, signals, and pavement markings in the United States.