Actions that you take in traffic have different degrees of risk. Some behaviors are far more dangerous than others, and identifying these dangerous maneuvers can reduce your risk in traffic.
Although they may seem relatively boring and commonplace, left-hand turns are among the most dangerous driving maneuvers people perform. They expose your vehicle to oncoming traffic and put you at risk of hitting someone or being hit.
Left-hand turns are responsible for such a high percentage of crashes that some drivers attempt to avoid them when possible. Even big businesses, like UPS, a global player in the parcel delivery industry, have policies that reflect the dangers caused by left-hand turns.
UPS tries to avoid left-hand turns when planning routes
For more than a decade, UPS policy has required that the company’s driving routes minimize or entirely eliminate left-hand turns. The company cites two main reasons.
One of those is efficiency. Idling a big delivery vehicle for extended amounts of time while waiting for a break in traffic to make left-hand turns can consume a lot of fuel and driving time. It may be faster and more efficient to have someone conduct multiple right-hand turns without stopping than to stop and make a left-hand turn.
The crash risk is also a factor. UPS could be at fault when their drivers cause crashes while making left-hand turns, and police officers are quick to assign blame to the driver turning left in wrecks. While you don’t have specialized software or a logistics team helping you plan your daily drive, you can still learn from this UPS policy.
Minimizing left-hand turns keeps you safer
Even if you might have to stay in your vehicle for a few extra moments or travel an extra mile because you go around the block, avoiding left-hand turns as much as possible can be a smart driving decision. Not only will you experience fewer delays while you wait to complete your turn, but you will be less likely to cause a crash or to get struck by someone who is not paying attention.
Learning about the risk involved in different driving practices, like left-hand turns, can help you avoid motor vehicle crashes.