UPS Trucks Are the Derek Zoolanders of Vehicles: They Don’t Turn Left
Whenever you see a UPS truck in traffic, don’t expect to see it in the left turn lane or turning left at all. When it comes to these package-bearing vehicles, there are a couple good reasons as to why they almost never turn left.
Turning left is dangerous
According to a study conducted by the US National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA), left turns are one of the leading critical pre-crash events, occurring in 22.2% of crashes. On the other side of the spectrum, right turns only account for 1.2% of crashes. That’s quite a drastic difference. Left turns are also three times more likely to kill pedestrians than right turns, according to information collected by New York City’s transportation planners.
Right turns are better for the environment
UPS Senior Director of Process Management, Jack Levis, believes that a left-hand turn is less fuel-efficient because the vehicle is idling longer while waiting for the right of way. Thanks to modern engine technology, we’ve learned that allowing your car’s engine to idle to get it warm in the winter is actually bad for the vehicle and the environment.
To avoid idling and left turns, UPS created a new mapping system (instead of using Google or other variants) that differentiates between roads where trucks are not permitted and can plan a route with minimal left turns, while still effectively managing the driver’s time.
Should we all avoid left turns?
While it may seem like a good idea for eco-warriors to try this method of not turning left, it might not work for most of us. Our hardwired daily travel routes hardly change as we go to and from work, so it’s a little more difficult to change the way we drive to avoid a few left turns. But if you happen to find a new shorter route somewhere, you’ll definitely be saving time and money in the long run.