First HAWK Signal

Town of Hilton Head Island Installs Its First HAWK Signal to Improve Pedestrian Safety
April 17, 2020 – To improve pedestrian safety, the Town of Hilton Head Island has installed its first pedestrian hybrid beacon, known as a “HAWK” (High- Intensity Activated Crosswalk), at the pedestrian crosswalk by the Coligny Beach parking lot on South Forest Beach Drive.
The HAWK, which will be activated on Monday, April 20, is part of roadway improvements in the Coligny Beach area and will help pedestrians cross the road more safely from Coligny Beach parking lot and pathways to a new pathway that goes to Coligny Beach Park.
“We’re excited to activate this new traffic signal. Based on heavy vehicle and pedestrian traffic particularly during our peak beach season, we determined this was the best traffic control device to install,” said Scott Liggett, Director of Public Projects and Facilities for the Town. “When our season picks up again and with the future opening of our Lowcountry Celebration Park, we anticipate this crosswalk will continue to be one of our busiest. The new traffic signal will help mitigate traffic flow.”
Because the HAWK signal may be new to drivers and pedestrians, both need to exercise caution at first to ensure that everyone understands the new signal’s operation.
How the HAWK Signal Works
The HAWK traffic signal is specifically designed for pedestrian crossings and directs motor vehicles to stop for pedestrians to cross. The signal operates when pedestrians push a button and receive a walking symbol, triggering a traffic light that warns cars of pedestrians.
The traffic light displays as follows:
Yellow Flashing alerts motorists that a pedestrian has initiated the crosswalk system and motorists need to slow down and prepare to stop. The Yellow Flashing will change to Yellow Solid.
Yellow Solid alerts motorists that the signal is about to change to Red Solid and they should stop. Yellow Solid will change to Red Solid.
Red Solid requires traffic to come to a complete stop. Traffic will be stopped for 16 seconds while a walking symbol to the crosswalk is displayed, giving pedestrians the cue to cross the road.
Red Flashing will begin after the 16 seconds of Red Solid. The walking symbol will display a flashing “don’t walk” signal accompanied by a timer that will start counting down at 14 seconds. The flashing “don’t walk” signal means that a pedestrian should not begin crossing the road. But, pedestrians already crossing the road will have time to finish crossing it before the red flashing signal for drivers end. Traffic is also required to come to a complete stop at the flashing red signal, but may proceed with caution if no pedestrians are within the crosswalk.
At the end of the pedestrian crossing period, the signal goes dark again and motorists can proceed after pedestrians have cleared the crosswalk. Per the signal design, the signal cannot be activated to stop traffic again for a minimum of 70 seconds after the red flashing light.
For more information on the HAWK signal, visit or contact Darrin Shoemaker, Traffic and Transportation Engineer, at 843-341-4774.
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For additional information, contact our Communications Director
Carolyn Grant at 843-341-4618 or