TURNING RIGHT TO OPTIMIZE. I posted here about Michael Gartner’s charming memoir of his parents, including the fact that Gartner’s mother did all the driving in his family. When she got into her eighties, Gartner’s parents decided it was safer not to make any more left turns. I remembered this when I came across the information that UPS trucks avoid making left turns as a matter of company policy. In this article on the io9 website, Robbie Gonzalez says: “…left turns are not only riskier, they also waste gas. So UPS – optimization-obsessed logistics company that it is – got rid of them.” UPS uses software developed by its engineers to provide routes that avoid left turns.
This result is surprising enough that the snopes site has received queries as to whether this is just a myth. Robbie Gonzalez points out that it is not complete true that UPS trucks don’t turn left. One driver estimates that about ten per cent of their turns are left turns.