UPS Left Turns – What is it and How To Use It In Your Business

How Routing Optimization Software Can Help Your Drivers Avoid Left Turns
Featured image credit: Somkiat.cgs/

UPS Left Turns – Is Left Turn Avoidance Right For Your Business?

UPS Left turns have become a sort of urban legend in the logistics community and beyond. How can executing left-hand turns only (or right only for those who drive on the right-hand side of the road) be a better way to navigate delivery routes?

Find out more below…

If you were to follow a UPS truck as it goes through a route, you’d notice something: the driver avoids left turns whenever possible.

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 just 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 route optimization software can help.

Why Should You Avoid Left Turns?

#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 take 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 – UPS Left Turns Reduce Fuel Consumption and Costs

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 crucial when you’re dealing with a whole fleet of vehicles.

Also, although left turns do waste a lot of time, it’s not like you can use this as an excuse to customers to explain why 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. 

Want To See For Yourself How Route4Me Can Boost Your Profits?

Whether you want to slash the time it takes you to plan routes for your drivers, increase the number of stops they can make, or keep your customers satisfied knowing that your drivers show up on time… Route4Me helps you achieve that!
Start Free 7 Day Trial

How Can You Mimic UPS Left Turns and 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 ORION that they developed in-house.

ORION is the UPS route optimization software that optimizes multi-driver, multi-stop routes for the UPS delivery platform.

Learn how UPS route optimization software (ORION) helps drivers make on-time deliveries.

But that’s UPS. They have enough money and resources that are 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 in less than a minute?

That’s precisely what the Route4Me route planner allows you to do.

How To Use Route4Me Route Planner To Optimize and Avoid Left Turns

You just have to turn on the “Avoid Left Turn” feature. That’s it!

Our multi-stop route planner will then automatically plan routes that exclude such turns. 

You can find this feature in the route editor. Just click on “Turn Restrictions” and select “Avoid Left Turn.”

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 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 trucking GPS app, you’ll get the most effective use of your drivers and vehicles possible. 5 drivers can cover the same area that usually takes 20 to cover.

Also, this is cloud-based software – you don’t need to download any app.

You can plan a route, track vehicles, 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 route optimizer, no other company could come up with such a traveling salesman problem solver.

We are ahead of the curve. Route4Me is leading the way with new and advanced technology to improve the industry standard.

Want To See For Yourself How Route4Me Can Boost Your Profits?

Whether you want to slash the time it takes you to plan routes for your drivers, increase the number of stops they can make, or keep your customers satisfied knowing that your drivers show up on time… Route4Me helps you achieve that!
Start Free 7 Day Trial

About author: Rahul Dasgupta

Rahul Dasgupta is a content writer with over 20 years of work experience. He holds a master’s degree in computer science and has written thousands of blog posts on route planning and scheduling, making it easy for readers to learn about these complex topics. Rahul enjoys playing tennis in his spare time and loves cuddling with his pet labrador Shinu. Rahul is a big fan of Roger Federer, Messi, and Bill Gates - he admires their drive to be the best at what they do and their philanthropic efforts.


About Route4Me

Route4Me has over 40,000 customers globally. Route4Me's Android and iPhone mobile apps have been downloaded over 2 million times since 2009. Extremely easy-to-use, Route4Me's apps create optimized routes, synchronize routes to mobile devices, enable communication with drivers and customers, offer turn-by-turn directions, delivery confirmation, and more. Behind the scenes, Route4Me's operational optimization platform combines high-performance algorithms with data science, machine learning, and big data to plan, optimize, and analyze routes of almost any size in real-time.