Flashing Yellow Arrows

Header Image

Bellevue installed its first left turn signals with flashing yellow arrows in late 2010. A flashing yellow arrows mean that left turns are allowed, but drivers must yield to oncoming traffic and pedestrians. Flashing yellow arrows can also be used for right turns.

In this video, a transportation engineer explains the operation and a flashing yellow arrow illustration further clarifies the sequence. An animated video, translated into multiple languages, also is available:

While flashing yellow arrows may look a bit different to motorists initially, studies by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) suggest they increase safety because they are more effective at getting drivers to yield to oncoming traffic. The FHWA has approved the use of flashing yellow arrows for nationwide use.

Typical flashing yellow arrow sequence:

  1. Solid red arrow: Drivers turning left must stop and wait.
  2. Solid green arrow: Drivers can proceed with left turn.
  3. Solid yellow arrow: Drivers prepare to stop.
  4. Solid red arrow: A very short clearance interval where drivers turning left must stop.
  5. Flashing yellow arrow: Drivers may proceed with left turn after yielding to oncoming traffic and pedestrians.
  6. Solid yellow arrow: Drivers prepare to stop.
  7. Solid red arrow: Drivers turning left must stop and wait.

Recent and upcoming signal modifications

  • Factoria Boulevard Southeast and 40th Place: New left turn flashing yellow arrow displays will be added in the east-west directions. Anticipated activation January 2021.
  • 148th Avenue SE at SE 16th and 22nd Street, and Richards Road at SE 26th Street: Five new signal poles and left turn flashing yellow arrows in east-west directions. Activated fall 2020. Levy funded.
  • 124th Avenue NE at NE 8th Street: North-south directions. Activated fall 2019.
  • 108th Avenue at Main Street: Eastbound, southbound and westbound directions. Activated fall 2019.
  • 106th Avenue at Main Street: East-west directions. Activated fall 2019.