Most drivers know that left turns can be very dangerous.  Have you heard, “two wrongs don’t make a right, but three rights make a left?”  Taking fewer left turns is being emphasized as not only safer, but a way to save time and use less gas while idling in a left turn lane.   Another option is to go a little farther down the road to a turnaround, which takes you back to the direction you came from, but you can then take your right exit, avoiding that left turn. 

UPS has set an excellent example for us to follow.  A few years ago, UPS implemented a $600 million route optimizing system that has proven to be about 50 per cent safer, and saved travel time by around 20%.  This system maps out the next day’s schedule for thousands of their drivers in order to minimize the number of left-hand turns they must make.  This allows them to make more efficient deliveries in heavily traffic-congested areas.  According to an ABC News report, they have saved millions of gallons of fuel, and reduced emissions from their vehicles while idling at left turn lights. 

Plan your route ahead of time and experiment until you can see for yourself if this method will work for you.  Always drive defensively and remember, it is all right to take a right on red, unless there is signage that says “No Right on Red.”  Otherwise, treat it as a stop sign.  Always stop completely before taking that right turn.  If you must take left turns, first of all, be attentive to the traffic lights and don’t try to beat the yellow light.  Don’t take the chance; stop and wait for the next light change.  There may be someone coming from the other direction that tries to beat it, as well, and then no one is the winner! 

To safely make left turns, give warning ahead of time to the drivers behind you by using your turn signal, and slow down as you approach the road.  Always watch in the rear view mirror.  Someone may not be paying attention and appears to not plan to stop.  If this happens, drive forward and turn around somewhere else.  Otherwise, you will sit there and get hit.  Keep your wheels facing straight until you are ready to turn.  If you are in the road with your wheels turned left, and someone behind you hits you, it will knock you into oncoming traffic.  With your wheels facing forward, you will be knocked forward instead.  (Either way is not a very pleasant scenario!) 

Driving experts advise seniors the importance of taking more right turns to go around the block until they can forge straight ahead rather than taking left turns.  It is possible that older drivers’ response time is not so quick as younger ones, and avoiding left turns can be the safest maneuver for them. 

Look at the proven savings that a large company like UPS has made possible by this plan: fuel costs, discharging fewer metric tons of emissions into the air, and avoiding accidents – all by not having to turn into oncoming traffic thousands of times per day.  If others would follow their example, we could all be winners.


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