Unless you’re in the business of driving for a living, you might not spend much time thinking about how often you turn left. However, if you worked for UPS, you would.
For more than the last 10 years, UPS has provided its drivers with delivery routes that avoid left turns approximately 90% of the time.
Because more car accidents occur when you’re turning left, and idling in an intersection while waiting to turn left means wasting unneeded fuel and time. That translates into additional costs, both in terms of dollars and on the environment. And, since UPS’ drivers log so much time behind the wheel, making this change has saved the company millions in driver time, fuel, and vehicle costs, plus it has the added bonus of a smaller environmental burden. The popular show Mythbusters even put this theory to the test, and you can see the results in their “Right Turn Only MiniMyth” video.
Thanks to UPS engineers developing sophisticated vehicle routing software, drivers follow directions that are typically longer on paper, but generally get drivers where they are going more quickly. More importantly to those on the road, the reduction of left-hand turns means a significant increase in safety.
This is because left-hand turns are often considered the most dangerous maneuvers on the road. They account for substantially more and more serious accidents—both with other vehicles and pedestrians—than right-hand turns.
So, on your next trip to work or the grocery store, take a moment to think about your route. Could you take a page from UPS and save yourself some time , gas, or even something much more valuable by simply turning right?