New left-turn signals on Michigan’s roads

You may have begun to notice a new style of left-turn signal on Michigan’s roads. Placed OVER the left-turn lane at a signalized intersection, this new signal display includes a flashing yellow arrow.  In coming years, this type of signal will replace all flashing red left-turn signals.

How will it work?
In most locations, the flashing yellow arrow will be part of a four-arrow signal. In areas where this is not possible, the bottom of a three-arrow signal will display either the flashing yellow arrow or a steady green arrow.

Signal phases:

red light  Red: STOP.
yellow flashing light Flashing yellow arrow: Left turns permitted.  Yield to oncoming traffic and pedestrians. [Oncoming traffic has a green light.]
green light Green arrow: Safe to turn left. [Oncoming traffic must stop.]
yellow  light Steady yellow arrow: The left-turn signal is about to change to red; prepare to stop, or prepare to complete your left turn if you are within the intersection.

Why the change?
This change 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.

Why is it a better left-turn signal?

  • It’s safer. A national study demonstrated that drivers made fewer mistakes with the new signals than with traditional left-turn arrow signals.
  • It’s more efficient The new signals provide traffic engineers with more options to handle variable traffic volumes.
  • It’s more consistent. You’ll see the same signals in every state because the new signals are being introduced throughout the U.S.


From the Michigan Department of Transportation