BONNE TERRE – A flashing yellow arrow type traffic signal was added to two intersections in Bonne Terre this week, the US 67/47 interchange and Highway 47 at its intersection with Raider Road.
While the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) says the new signals will help increase efficiency during off peak times, the signals have been the subject of some confusion in other locations due to their unfamiliarity and driver misunderstanding.
The new signals have four spots on each unit. On the bottom of the signal a solid green arrow will display when left turning traffic has the right of way. A flashing yellow arrow will signify that drivers turning left should yield to oncoming traffic. A solid yellow arrow will indicate that drivers should prepare to stop or complete the turn if in the intersection.
According to Don Crites of MoDOT, there are three types of turn signals, protective, protective/permissive and permissive. The flashing yellow arrow is a permissive type signal which will help increase efficiency during off-peak times.
“The protective is what has been used mostly in this district and that is what most people are familiar with,” Crites said. “Basically that is a green arrow, a yellow arrow and a red dot and you only go on the green arrow.”
Crites said the other most familiar signal in this district is known as the “five section head.” This type of signal consists of a green arrow, yellow arrow, green dot, yellow dot and red dot and is usually accompanied by a sign stating, “Left Turn Yield on Green.”
“That type of signal head has been confusing to drivers because sometimes it will show a green arrow with a green dot or red dot and the selling point to the flashing yellow arrow is that none of that applies,” said Crites.
The confusion reported most by drivers exist between the two yellow arrows. Drivers have reported not knowing if they are to advance or stop on both the flashing yellow arrow and on the solid arrow. One driver commented that the new signals are “just an accident waiting to happen.” Another said that it is not the signals, but the layout of those intersections that is confusing to motorists.
“It’s not the flashy lights that are confusing people its how they changed lanes around and how people can’t follow the signs. A guy yesterday came to a dead stop in a straight line wanting to turn left, I guess the big arrow in the road and the sign next to the light one lane over that said, ‘left turn signal’ were too confusing,” said a Bonne Terre driver.
Pat Pratt is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-431-2010, ext. 172 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.