When you’ve decided to drive somewhere, you generally need to decide between multiple routes. Most people pick whichever option they think will get them to their destination the fastest. Yet, the delivery company UPS has altered its route planning systems to prioritize something other than speed — avoiding left turns. After finding out why, you, too, might want to make this a priority.
The reason UPS made this adjustment was safety. Turning left is a critical factor in 22.2% of crashes. Turning right, by contrast, is only a critical factor in 1.2% of crashes. In other words, if you eliminate the left turns, there’s a much greater chance you will get to your destination safely.
Why are left turns more dangerous?
Think about a left turn that you make regularly. Consider how many calculations you need to make to ensure it is safe to cross the lane of oncoming traffic to make the turn effectively. Right turns do not require nearly as many calculations. You are not crossing the direction of traffic, merely leaving the flow of traffic you are already in.
Crashes are costly
UPS needs its drivers to be efficient. Having even one driver crash can lead to many delays and missed deadlines, not to mention the associated expense of repairs and having a truck off the road. Then there’s the human cost – a driver injured in a crash will need treatment and time off work. Even when drivers don’t crash, UPS found they lost a lot of time and gas sitting waiting to make left turns. Overall, it is more efficient for the company – and for motorists in general – to keep left turns to a minimum.
While replacing your lefts with rights might require a more circuitous route, it may be faster and safer overall. It only takes one moment of negligence by a driver whose path you must cross to cause you serious injury. While you can claim compensation, avoiding left turns makes it less likely that you’ll need to.