WootBot


quality posts: 17 Private Messages WootBot

Staff

December is a month full of festive observances, but one of the most important often gets overlooked: National Impaired Driving Prevention Month! Between all the holiday merrymaking and the terrible road conditions, it's a pretty good time to think more carefully about our driving. But what if not everything you think you know about the rules of the road is accurate? We have Jeopardy!'s Ken Jennings behind the wheel all month to set you straight. Buckle up, check your blind spot, and pull away from the curb when it's safe and legal to do so.

The Debunker: Do UPS Drivers Never Turn Left?

Now that you know you're probably turning left wrong it's time to consider the real existential question: should you be turning left at all?

The Debunker

A 2007 article in The New York Times Magazine brought public attention, for the first time, to an odd-sounding corporate policy at UPS. The company's new "package flow" software system, designed to streamline routes and save fuel, validated the company's longstanding policy of avoiding left turns where possible. In other words, taking three rights will almost always get a UPS truck through an intersection faster than idling in a left turn lane. The change is much safer too, since turning across traffic is one of the most dangerous things you can do in a car (or boxy brown truck). The NHTSA says that 53.1% of all crossing-path crashes involve left turns, while just 5.7% involve right turns.

But the media delight over this counterintuitive new factoid led it to get misreported time and again. UPS drivers still turn left all the timeā€”but they only do so when traffic is light, or there's no efficient workaround, or both. In general, the company found that driving was most efficient when lefts made up ten percent of its turns. That's still pretty impressive, but it's not an outright ban. If you see a UPS truck, turning left, it's not some rogue truck hijacker at work. The driver is just doing what the software recommended.

Quick Quiz: UPS is headquartered in northern Fulton County, part of the outlying metro area of what major U.S. city?

Ken Jennings is the author of eleven books, most recently his Junior Genius Guides, Because I Said So!, and Maphead. He's also the proud owner of an underwhelming Bag o' Crap. Follow him at ken-jennings.com or on Twitter as @KenJennings.

moles1138


quality posts: 49 Private Messages moles1138

Atlanta

daveinwarshington


quality posts: 96 Private Messages daveinwarshington

Well, that's just stupid.
No one is thinking that UPS drivers only turn right.
(Some of the blocks here are 1/2 mile long.)

I would like to thank the very nice UPS driver we have. He really cares about placing the package in a safe dry location and always has a treat for Chevy & Jetta. This guy replaced a UPS driver that retired a few years ago. He also was an amazing worker (with dog treats).

Narfcake


quality posts: 392 Private Messages Narfcake

Volunteer Moderator

If UPS trucks rarely turn left and NASCAR rarely turns right ...

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fredly00


quality posts: 1 Private Messages fredly00

Not as much as a myth, but clarification, most routes are designed as "loops" imagine three circles stacked(snowman style)

Baseline loop starts at the feet and works up the right side of the circle, and around counter clock wise.(the other routes do the same, and sometimes move area(packages back and forth where the circles touch)

In simpler terms imagine one street(main street) running north and south, you work your way up one side, and back down the other side and turning R to do side streets and such as needed)

It's not really about Right turns, but more about not crossing traffic which takes more time.

First Blarney O'Charley Dec 25, 2005 Speed to first wooter 22m 52.775s

Latest Blarney O'Charley July 11, 2017 Speed to first wooter 0m 8.665s

bblhed


quality posts: 11 Private Messages bblhed

Mythbusters took this one on at one time in San Francisco and they found that a "Right turn optimized" route used less fuel, was safer, and was faster.

renatuslives


quality posts: 36 Private Messages renatuslives
The NHTSA says that 53.1% of all crossing-path crashes involve left turns, while just 5.7% involve right turns.



Are the other 41.2% of crossing-path crashes downward/upward?

Narfcake


quality posts: 392 Private Messages Narfcake

Volunteer Moderator

renatuslives wrote:Are the other 41.2% of crossing-path crashes downward/upward?


Remainder are probably T-bone incidents with going straight, like someone running a red light.

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snowman325i


quality posts: 0 Private Messages snowman325i

I completed the UPS package car driver training a little over 2 and a half years ago. We never talked about not making left turns. It is "reverse" that we are not supposed to use unless absolutely necessary. You can be written up for "excessive backing." I have never heard of the no left turn myth. We are taught safety and have to memorize several key points and recite them at any given time. Annually a supervisor will do an on car ride with the driver and evaluate them. Safety and productivity are of the upmost priority, and we may have to recite key points regarding safety that we memorize and put to use behind the wheel everyday. The company is big on driver safety. If a package car driver is involved in an accident even if it is not his/her fault, then the company still considers the UPS driver at fault. Fortunately the police, insurance company, and Union representation will be on the package car driver's side if it is determined that it was no fault of their own. No left turns huh? SMH Don't back up anymore than you have to.

SylvreKat


quality posts: 37 Private Messages SylvreKat

Not about turns but also safety.

Those trucks canNOT stop fast, esp on snowy/icy streets!

Our FX delivery lady had a moron pull out in front of her as she was pretty much at the intersection. Luckily for moron he managed to go quickly despite the snow, and luckily she's an incredible driver and managed to slow without sliding. But it was dicey for a few seconds, she said.

So please, as winter weather kicks in, please remember to give those delivery trucks room.

>'Kat

+1 +1+1+4 +3 +1

imadokodesuka


quality posts: 0 Private Messages imadokodesuka

well, to be fair, most drivers are from the derek zoolander retraining center for former models that can't turn left because they aren't ambiturners.

mebeeler


quality posts: 0 Private Messages mebeeler

Go fast, turn left