Wisconsin State Patrol July Law of the Month

​​ ​​​Flashing yellow arrow means yield before turning left​

Release date: June 15, 20​​21

A flashing yellow arrow is an increasingly common sight at signalized intersections in Wisconsin. Wisconsin State Statute 346.37 (1)(e) sends a clear signal to drivers: a left turn is permitted, but first you must​ yield to oncoming traffic and pedestrians. 

“A left turn is one of the most dangerous movements a motorist makes,” Wisconsin State Patrol Superintendent Anthony Burrell says. “Studies show that flashing yellow arrow left turn signals improved safety at intersections.”

For safe operation motorists should remember:​​

  • ​​​A flashing yellow arrow does NOT give you the right of way. Opposing traffic has a green signal and the right of way.

  • The flashing yellow arrow means you may proceed with caution.

  • ​​​A flashing yellow arrow means you may turn in the direction of the arrow or make a U-turn, unless a sign prohibits U-turns, only after yielding to other vehicles and pedestrians. Go only when it is safe and the way is clear.

​​​​​The flashing yellow arrow often appears in a four light signal but may also appear in a three light signal that also features:

  • ​A steady green arrow that means a driver has the right-of-way to make a left turn or make a U-turn unless a sign prohibits U-turns.  

  • A steady yellow arrow that means drivers should be prepared to stop. 

  • A steady red arrow that means drivers should stop and wait.

The signals may include an adjoining, static sign that reads: “Left turn – yield on flashing yellow arrow.”​

More information is available on flashing yellow arrows on the related Safety engineering webpage​ on the WisDOT website.

For more information, contact:

WisDOT Office of Public Affairs
(608) 266-3581, opa.exec@dot.wi.gov

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