If you were to follow a UPS truck as it goes through a route, you’d notice something: whenever possible, the driver avoids left turns.
In fact, a lot of the time they’ll even go out of their way to make three right turns rather than go left.
It’s not UPS that does this. Other major shipping services, such as FedEx and Canada Post, avoid left turns as well.
So, what’s up with this policy? Here are three reasons why they avoid left turns (and you should, too) and how routing optimization software can help.
#1 Left Turns Are Unsafe
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), left turns cause 53.1% of cross-path crashes.
According to the New York Times, left turns are three times as likely to kill a pedestrian than right turns.
And according to The Atlantic, 60% of all crashes are caused by left turns at intersections.
After looking at those statistics, surely you can see why companies that deliver millions of packages daily would want to avoid left turns.
Every accident could cost you thousands in maintenance expenses, and it could cost you ten of thousands or even more in medical and legal fees if your driver is found to be at fault.
Is that something you can afford?
#2 Left Turns Waste Time
UPS says that another reason why they avoid left turns is that they waste a lot of time. It can a while to wait for oncoming traffic to clear enough to allow a safe left turn. Drivers can make more stops in an hour if they avoid such turns altogether.
“Left turns are always a last resort,” said UPS Canada director of customer solutions Gordon Reed. “We design our whole routes to turn right. The rationale behind it is you idle less and you’re not sitting, waiting at lights.”
This policy saves UPS over 98 million hours per year. That’s a lot of extra stops.
#3 Left Turns Consume a lot of Fuel
As mentioned above, drivers spend more time idle when they wait to take left turns. In addition to wasting a lot of time, this wastes a lot of fuel, too.
These fuel expenses are significant even when it’s just one car, so it’s especially significant when you’re dealing with a whole fleet of cars.
Also, although left turns do waste a lot of time, it’s not like you can use this an excuse to customers to explain why a delivery is late. While it may be true, it’s just not professional. So drivers will speed through the rest of a route to make all their stops on time, wasting even more gas.
Over the past few years, UPS has saved over 10 million gallons of gas by bypassing left turns.
This move has also reduced carbon emissions by 100,000 metric tons, which is the equivalent of removing 5,300 cars from the road for an entire year.
How Can You Avoid Left Turns?
You can’t ensure your drivers will dodge left turns with pen and paper alone.
UPS doesn’t use pen and paper. They design routes with the help of software that’s developed in-house.
But that’s UPS. They have enough money and resources that’s required to develop their own software. That’s likely not the case for your company.
What if we told you that, right now, you can afford software that allows you to plan routes with no left turns is less than a minute?
That’s exactly what Route4Me’s vehicle route planning software allows you to do.
You just have to turn on the “Avoid Left Turn” feature. That’s it!
Our route optimization software will then automatically plan routes that excludes such turns.
You can find this feature in the route editor. Just click on “Turn Restrictions” and select “Avoid Left Turn,” as shown below:
Route4Me also offers other options, such as avoiding right turns or U-turns. Just select the option you want and our software will do all the calculations for you.
Imagine how much many hours you could save!
Most importantly, you don’t need to hire a new driver or buy a new vehicle to cover more routes. With Route4Me’s fleet route planning software, you’ll get the most effective use of your drivers and vehicles as possible. 5 drivers can cover the same area that is usually takes 20 to cover.
Also, this is cloud-based software – you don’t need to download any app.
You can plan routes, track drivers and communicate with drivers while on the move.
Since Summer 2015, Route4Me has been helping logistics companies dodge left turns. Only UPS had this feature before Route4Me introduced it to the general marketplace.
Remember, UPS did it just for themselves. Route4Me is helping many different companies.
Before Route4Me’s routing optimization software, no other company was able to come up with such a solution. We are ahead of the curve. Route4Me is leading the way with new and advanced technology to improve the industry standard.
How do you ensure your drivers can avoid left turns? Let us know in the comments section below.