Traffic Tuesday Tip: Exactly How Long Is That Green Arrow?


SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — You are late to work and waiting in the left turn lane, when the green arrow finally appears. It seems like only a few cars make it through before it turns red– how long do green arrows really last?

“The minimum green time for left turn arrow is usually going to be five to seven seconds. It might go anywhere up to 10 to 20 seconds, it just depends on the intersection,” said City of Springfield traffic signal engineer Jason Saliba. “Of that minimum time of about seven seconds or so, probably about five cars through per lane get through.”

Saliba says while there are not many accidents caused by cars in the left turn lanes, there is a way to reduce traffic buildup. 

“If you’re at an intersection with dual turn lanes, be sure to use both lanes because a lot of times we’ll see congestion in that left turn because everyone’s crowded in one lane,” said Saliba.

Another important arrow fact to keep in mind is the difference between a flashing yellow arrow versus a solid green arrow.

“The solid green arrow assigns that driver looking at that arrow the right of way, so they have the right away at that point,” explained Saliba. “However, if you’re looking at a flashing yellow arrow– that is telling them to use caution and to yield to the people on the other side of the intersection.” 

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