New traffic signal draws attention

  • Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Photo Provided SCDOT traffic engineering has started installing a new type of traffic signal in Berkeley County: the flashing yellow arrow. The arrow lets drivers know that they can turn left when opposing traffic has cleared.

A new style left-turn traffic signal designed to improve safety and visibility is operating in Moncks Corner.

The South Carolina Department of Transportation installed the signal head, commonly called a “Flashing Yellow Arrow” at US 52 at Cypress Gardens Road.

The FYA left turn signal heads are designed to improve driver understanding of left-turn traffic signal displays. The goal is to improve efficiency and reduce crashes at signalized intersections.

The head is designed to make it easier for drivers to perceive when to make a left turn maneuver. The traffic signal head adds a flashing yellow arrow display, which will mean left turns are permitted but drivers must use caution and yield to oncoming traffic and pedestrians by turning when clear.

In Moncks Corner, the FYA signal head will consist of a 3 section head (from top to bottom), a solid red arrow, a solid yellow arrow, and a flashing yellow arrow. The FYA signal head is being installed for better visibility over the offset left turn lane.

“It will be a very visible indication in your lane that will give you a cue on what to do,” said Carol Jones, SCDOT’s Traffic Signal and Systems Engineer. “So many times as you’re getting further out in the intersection waiting to turn, you have to look far to the right to see what the signal light is doing.

“Having this type of signal head in your left turn lane will give you better visibility on what to do and at what point. It’s all about visibility, and that translates into improved safety.”

In Summerville, the new 4 section FYA signal head will replace the “5-section cluster” (or “doghouse”) style left-turn signal head at US 17A at I-26 westbound on-ramp. New left turn phases will be installed utilizing the 4 section FYA signal head on the Berlin G. Myers Parkway approaches at US 17A. The four-section signal head includes, from top to bottom, a solid red arrow, a solid yellow arrow, a flashing yellow arrow, and a solid green arrow.

SCDOT installed its first FYA signal head in the state in May 2013 in Richland County. In addition to the FYA signal heads in Berkeley County, additional FYA signal heads will be installed across the state.

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