Virginia Beach, Va. – A new type of traffic signal was installed in Virginia Beach on Saturday as part of a pilot program to control left turns and improve safety at intersections.
New four-section signal heads with flashing yellow arrows will replace the traditional five-section signal heads at four intersections on Rosemont Road. Rather than a circular green, drivers will have a flashing yellow arrow to indicate that they can turn left after yielding to oncoming traffic.
With the new signals:
- A solid red arrow means STOP.
- A solid green arrow means, turn left…oncoming traffic MUST stop.
- A flashing yellow arrow means left turns are permitted, but you MUST FIRST yield to oncoming traffic and pedestrians, and then proceed with caution.
- A solid yellow arrow warns that the turn signal is about to change to red….be prepared to stop.
Public Works Traffic Engineering believes the new signal heads with arrows will provide a more direct, less confusing message. A national study demonstrated drivers had fewer crashes with the flashing yellow left-turn arrow than with the traditional yielding left-turn indication, because drivers perceive that any green signal means “go.”
The City installed these signal heads at four intersections on Rosemont Road between I-264 and Holland Road:
• Chester Street/Sentara Way
• South Plaza Trail
• Silina Drive
• Bow Creek Boulevard/Van Buren Drive
Over a three-year period at these four intersections, 31 of 106 crashes were on a permissive left turn with a solid green after the arrow phase — many of them resulting in injuries. The new flashing arrow could potentially help prevent these types of crashes.
The city plans to eventually install them at other intersections throughout the city.