Types of Traffic Signals

While there are many types of traffic signals located throughout Winston-Salem and Forsyth County, here are a few typical situations:

  • No left turn signal - The driver makes a left turn after checking to see that there is no oncoming, conflicting traffic. There are a minimum of two signals showing no arrows at all. If a bulb burns out, a second signal will provide direction.
  • Protected Left Turn - The driver will have a protected opportunity to make a left turn. There are two possible situations:
    • Most signals over left turn lanes have two red bulbs. If one red bulb burns out, the second bulb will continue to provide direction. There will always be a sign stating "Left Turn Signal" at this type of signal.
    • New red lights that will never entirely burn out have recently become available. These lights use LED (light-emitting diode) technology, and indicate a red arrow when left turns are not permitted. Because the red arrows will never burn out completely, a second red bulb is unnecessary. The yellow and green lights on these signals use regular bulbs, which may burn out. However, these signal indications are not as critical as the red indications. The through lane will have two standard signals in case one bulb burns out.
  • Permissive Left Turn - If a green arrow disappears and a green "ball" remains, the driver is permitted to make a left turn after yielding to conflicting traffic.
  • Left Turns on One-Way Streets - It is against North Carolina law to turn left on red from a one-way street onto another one-way street, even if there is no conflicting traffic. In all cases, if there is no signal indication, the driver should stop, check and wait for conflicting traffic, and proceed safely.
  • Right Turn Signal or Sign - Drivers turning right may see a "Right Turn Signal" sign in front of the right turn lane. This means that there will be a protected opportunity to make a right turn; the driver may still turn right on red after coming to a full stop and waiting for any conflicting traffic to pass unless there is a sign saying "No Turn on Red." 

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