Baldwin County residents will be among the first people in Alabama to use a new traffic signal, the flashing yellow arrow, according to a press release issued today by the Alabama Department of Transportation.

New signals with the flashing yellow arrow will be installed at 17 intersections in Baldwin County on U.S. Highway 98, from the Patrician Drive and Bass Pro Drive intersections in Spanish Fort to the County Road 32 intersection in Fairhope, as part of recently adopted Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) federal guidelines.

The flashing yellow arrow will be part of a four-arrow signal used where left turns are permitted after yielding to oncoming traffic. Drivers in the affected intersections will see a solid green arrow, followed by a solid yellow arrow, and a solid red arrow to allow traffic to clear. The flashing yellow arrow will then signify left turns are permitted after yielding to oncoming traffic and pedestrians.

More information on the flashing yellow arrow and an animation of the signal sequence is available at DriveSafeAlabama.org. Additionally, the Eastern Shore MPO has produced an informative video:

Signal installations will begin Jan. 20.

The decision to adopt the flashing yellow arrow on a national level came after the National Cooperative Highway Research Program, in cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), launched a large-scale study of left turn controls used across the United States. The study found the flashing yellow arrow was safer, more effective, and easier for drivers to understand than the standard green light which most Alabamians currently see when making unprotected left turns.