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No One Likes Left Turns, So Waze Is Getting Rid of Them

But only in one city so far
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 18, 2016 2:04 PM CDT

(Newser) – Waze, Google's map app, is notorious for forcing drivers to attempt uncontrolled left turns onto busy streets in an effort to get them where they're going in the shortest amount of time. “Many drivers (and especially LA drivers) know the feeling," Waze itself admits in a statement. That's why the app announced a new feature Friday to make commuting safer and less stressful for Los Angeles drivers: Waze will automatically look for routes that minimize left turns while taking around the same amount of time, CNET reports.

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A left turn can be a “stressful scenario that requires crossing multiple lanes of oncoming traffic," according to Waze. Yet the app routinely leads drivers into them because it prioritizes empty side streets to help users avoid traffic, LAist reports. To solve the problem, Waze worked with Los Angeles citizens to identify problem intersections, ending up with a list of 100 or so. Because the new feature requires the input of actual humans, it will take a while to introduce it in other cities. New Orleans is next. The new feature could do more than make driving more pleasant for Waze users. Left turns cause about 500,000 crashes and hundreds of deaths every year in the US. UPS actually banned its drivers from taking left turns in 2004 in a move that saved millions of gallons of gas and reduced emissions. (Read more Waze stories.)

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