You may have noticed recently in Bismarck that when you want to make a left turn, sometimes in lieu of the green arrow or the standard green ball, there is a flashing yellow arrow.

These flashing yellow arrows have been added to 15 intersections in Bismarck from 3rd Street to Divide Avenue along Bismarck Expressway and on University Drive between Bismarck Expressway and Airport Road.

The city announced in a news release that the flashing yellow lights have been installed due to new federal regulations that no longer allow the regular green ball in left turn lanes.

According to the North Dakota Department of Transportation, a study shows that the flashing left arrow made things safer than the green ball. The flashing yellow arrow resulted in drivers making less errors.

The change also allows more flexibility in the traffic light timing. During certain parts of the day, the yellow flashing light can be disabled to only allow cars to turn on the green arrow. These restrictions would potentially go into effect during peak drive times like rush hour. However during times where there is less traffic, the yellow arrow can be turned back on to allow cars to make left turns when it is safe to do so during the flashing yellow arrow.

More information on the flashing yellow arrows can be found on the Bismarck city website.

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