The Virginia Department of Transportation installed a new signal display at the intersection of Braddock Road and Ravensworth Road last week to make it easier to turn left onto Ravensworth.
Up to now, drivers heading eastbound on Braddock trying to turn left on Ravensworth toward central Annandale could only do so if they had a green arrow or solid green light. Drivers turning left on a solid green light sometimes do not yield to oncoming traffic, which has resulted in crashes at this intersection.
The new signal retains the green arrow for peak periods but replaces the solid green light with a flashing yellow arrow, which allows left turns while also communicating a “caution” message to drivers.
To further promote safety, drivers will only be allowed to turn left on a green arrow during peak periods. The flashing yellow arrow will initially operate at other times of day, but VDOT will monitor the signal’s operation and adjust the hours as needed.
Studies have shown that drivers are more cautious when faced with flashing yellow left turn lights than green lights, which means there should be fewer accidents.
The new signal has a solid red arrow (stop and wait), solid yellow arrow (prepare to stop or complete a left turn if already in the intersection), flashing yellow (turn left after yielding to oncoming traffic and pedestrians), and solid green arrow (left turns have the right of way).