Why UPS Trucks Don’t Turn Left

by | Sep 21, 2021


Two wrongs don’t make a right, but three rights do make a left.

UPS drivers are given a specific route to follow for each day’s deliveries. The UPS routing software doesn’t necessarily choose the shortest or fastest route because its algorithms include a rule to minimize the number of left turns against oncoming traffic because turning left creates long waits in left-hand turn lanes which wastes time and fuel and leads to more accidents. In a world where left turns are equally as necessary as right turns, UPS trucks only turn left about 10% of the time.

Avoiding left turns can mean making three right turns or using a route that is less direct. While it may seem crazy to spend time and effort avoiding left turns, there are tremendous benefits according to UPS:

  • The UPS fleet uses 10 million gallons less fuel and emits 20,000 tons less carbon dioxide
  • It delivers 350,000 more packages every year.
  • The fleet size is smaller by 1,100
  • Overall, UPS estimates that the efficienies generated by not turning left reduces the total distance its trucks travel by 28.5 million miles.
  • The number of accidents has been reduced.

Sources for this IFOD: Quartz and Priceonomics


  1. After reading this, I looked for an app to do the same thing for me. Couldn’t find one.

  2. I now have proof that this is worth it. Thank you I have been doing this for years and my wife makes fun of me.


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