Yield Signs

Here is a common item seen all the time in cities, towns and even rural areas. Yet it is a more recent item for our ancestors. Its history does not go back to the turn of the 20th century. Automobiles only just started appearing on roads at the beginning of 1900. Thinking about stop signs, traffic lights and even yield signs would be years in the future. So thing one item, the yield sign, was one of the road signs that your grandparents had to learn.

The first yield sign was invented in Tulsa, Oklahoma in the 1950s by a police captain named Capt. Clinton Riggs and the Tulsa Police Department. Riggs and his department created the sign to help drivers avoid confusion about right-of-way and yielding at intersections.

The first yield sign was installed at the intersection of 1st and Columbia, which was one of the most dangerous intersections in Tulsa, but not busy enough to need a stop sign or traffic light. At first, the police department didn’t think the new sign would work, so Riggs unofficially installed it himself as a test. The sign was successful, however, and drivers liked it.

The original yield sign was made in a keystone shape instead of a triangle. It was also yellow in order to better show up at night since reflective materials for signs hadn’t yet been invented. Yield signs were originally yellow when they were introduced in the United States in 1950s, they were changed to red over the last 30 years. Today, yield signs have been adopted throughout the United States and play an integral role in road safety. They are red and white – thought to be more attention-getting to drivers. Yield signs in yellow with different messages and different shapes are also still seen.

One of the original yellow signs is on display at the Tulsa Historical Society.

A yield sign calls on the driver to do the following: Slow down, defer to oncoming or intersecting traffic, stop when necessary, proceed when safe, and remain aware of oncoming vehicles.

Photo: Red and White Yield Sign and the yellow different signs.

Related FamilyTree.com Blogs:

Early 20th Century

Early Florida auto tag registration

Bench Seats in Cars

< Return To Blog Interesting info!
Sara N Martin 27/09/21

I thought so also.
alice 27/09/21

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