The development of Sunrise Beach Market Center in Sunrise Beach has changed the intersection of Routes 5 and F. With the change, the Missouri Department of Transportation has put in a new traffic light that is a little different than the old light and what drivers in the area may be used to.
What's going on?
The new traffic light is changing how motorists are signaled to make a left turn, according to MoDOT Central District Traffic Engineer Trent Brooks. A green arrow at the light still gives the driver in the left turn lane the right of way. But instead of a flashing green ball to allow drivers to make a yielding left turn, the light now shows a yellow flashing arrow. The yellow flashing arrow means the same thing as the green flashing ball did - drivers may still turn left but must yield to oncoming traffic.
Why the change?
Research shows that when someone sees a green light, they tend to go ahead and go, Brooks says. The U.S. Department of Transportation as well as MoDOT has investigated other ways of delivering the message of a yielding left turn to make it more clearly understood that oncoming traffic has a green light and the right of way so the turning driver should proceed with caution.
Because drivers already associate a yellow light and a flashing light with slowing down and caution, the yellow flashing arrow shows the most promise for drivers to clearly understand what is being signaled, Brooks says.
In this traffic signal, all the lights for a left turn utilize the arrow. When a left turn is not allowed, a red arrow shows. It is all an attempt to make the indication a little more straightforward, according to Brooks.
In the last few years, MoDOT has been starting to utilize these signals across the state as work load and budgets allow. Several of these types of traffic light were utilized in Osage Beach for the new expressway. There are also some in Eldon, according to Brooks. The signal in Laurie has not yet changed, but he says MoDOT is looking to make the modification to the new light as soon as it can be worked in.