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Alaska Beat

How to drive in Alaska when a green arrow flashes yellow? (+VIDEO)

  • Author: Craig Medred
  • Updated: September 27, 2016
  • Published November 19, 2012

There are still communities in America where people voluntarily live in cabins without electricity or water. Where candle-lit dinners are a given, showers are a luxury and extreme weather is more of a given than exception.

Hard to imagine in Los Angeles, Houston, New York City or along the Jersey shore, currently recovering from Hurricane Sandy. But it's a tradition in many places in Alaska, including Fairbanks. Read more about life off the grid in America's coldest city.

Off the state's road system, where winter turns rivers into frozen highways and many people use smaller vehicles like snowmachines and ATVs to get about, caution lights, let alone street signals, can be a rarity. Another aspect of life hard to relay to friends and family in cities across the contiguous U.S.

Here's a video for Alaskans educating them about "new flashing yellow arrow signals," which the state says will soon be installed "throughout Fairbanks and the state of Alaska."

The state says the new style of traffic signal will "more efficiently control left turns and improve safety at intersections." Research demonstrates that flashing yellow arrows are more intuitive and safer than the solid green lights that these signals are replacing for motorists that are turning left.

The new signal, a flashing yellow arrow, indicates that a left turn is allowed, but drivers must yield to pedestrians and oncoming traffic, for oncoming traffic has a green light and the right of way.

Just remember: A flashing yellow arrow means yield to oncoming traffic and pedestrians.

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