A left turn is one of the most dangerous maneuvers a new driver makes, especially when those left turns are what are known as “unprotected” turns. A “protected” left turn means that the driver has a green left turn arrow that specifically stops oncoming traffic to give the driver the right of way. An unprotected turn, on the other hand, is one where the driver does not have the right of way and must yield to oncoming traffic. These are usually signified by a green “ball” signal or the new flashing yellow turn arrow.
The flashing yellow turn signals have become commonplace on Nevada roadways in the recent months. The purpose of these lights is to create a safer left turn while also reducing traffic congestion. When you see a flashing yellow arrow, the signal means that traffic is allowed to make an “unprotected” left turn after yielding to oncoming traffic and pedestrians. Once the vehicle has yielded to oncoming traffic and pedestrians, the driver may make the left turn with caution.
After the yellow arrow flashes and then becomes a steady, non-flashing, yellow arrow the driver should treat it the same as a standard yellow light, being prepared to stop or safely clear the intersection prior to the red light appearing.
You can view the flashing yellow light traffic sequence here: http://youtu.be/MlQA1-xwUZk