GOSHEN — Something as simple as a flashing yellow light could help prevent car crashes at an intersection where more than half of accidents during the past three years have involved a vehicle making a left turn.
The Elkhart County Highway Department is scheduled on Tuesday, Nov. 26, to begin installing a new type of traffic signal at C.R. 17 and C.R. 18 east of Elkhart. The new flashing yellow arrow will be the first of its kind in Elkhart County.
Drivers making left turns from C.R. 17 to C.R. 18 currently follow traffic signals with green arrows and a round green light. The new signals will still have green arrows indicating protected left turns, but a flashing yellow arrow will replace the round green lights for permissive turns when there is no oncoming traffic.
“The flashing yellow arrow has also been shown to convey a better sense of caution to motorists making left turns with oncoming traffic,” the highway department explained in a news release.
An increased number of crashes at C.R. 17 and C.R. 18 has boosted the intersection to the top of the safety improvement priority list for the Elkhart County commissioners, according to the highway department.
Street lights will be added to the intersection to improve safety at night. About 25 percent of crashes there have happened after the sun has set, according to a three-year study by the highway department.
The Indiana Department of Transportation is beginning to install similar flashing yellow arrow signals throughout the state.
“While this installation may be the first in the county, motorists should expect to see more in the area in the coming years on both state and county roads,” the highway department stated.