Department of Highways - Elizabethtown
Ring Road traffic signals to include flashing yellow arrow

Press Release Date:  Wednesday, November 18, 2009  
Contact Information:  Mark Brown, public affairs, 502-564-3419  

ELIZABETHTOWN, Ky. (Nov. 17, 2009) — A new type of traffic signal designed to improve safety at intersections will be installed Wednesday, Nov. 18, on Ring Road in Elizabethtown by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.


The new configuration includes a flashing yellow arrow, which indicates that motorists may proceed with caution but must yield to oncoming traffic. The signal, which is to be installed at the Home Depot entrance, is among the first of its kind in the commonwealth.

“Studies indicate that modifying a standard traffic signal with a flashing yellow light configuration may help reduce crashes at certain locations,” said Patty Dunaway, chief district engineer for the Elizabethtown highway district. “The flashing yellow arrow has the potential to improve safety because it more clearly signals to drivers that they can turn only when there’s no oncoming traffic.”


In the coming weeks, signals at three additional Ring Road intersections will be modified to include the flashing arrow: KY 1600, Pear Orchard Road and KY 251. 

The new signal display has four intervals:


- A constant red arrow means STOP. Drivers turning left must stop.


- A constant yellow arrow means the signal is getting ready to turn to red.  Drivers turning left should stop if it is safe to do so.


- A flashing yellow arrow means left-turns are permitted.  Drivers may turn left but must first yield to oncoming traffic and pedestrians and then proceed with caution.


- A constant green arrow means left-turns are protected. Drivers may turn left.  Conflicting traffic must stop.

The signal has been used in Colorado, Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada and Oregon.

The flashing yellow arrow replaces the traditional green ball for motorists turning left, more clearly indicating to motorists that they must yield to oncoming traffic. If the pavement sensor in the left-turn lane detects a constant presence of vehicles unable to turn on flashing yellow, the signal will ultimately display a green arrow, indicating a “protected” turn for the vehicles. For information about the signal visit