The “Michigan Left” Turn: Love It, Hate It, or Tolerate It?
The 'Michigan Left' has nothing to do with politics, as I'm sure someone thought when they saw this article title. But no, it's regarding a traffic design that is totally unique to Michigan, usually found within city limits: the 'Michigan Left'.
The Michigan Left was implemented sometime in the 1960s. Why? To decrease the number of collisions and crashes at intersections. You've seen these many times...you're driving down the road and you want to turn left at the next intersection. But wait! There's a sign that says “NO LEFT TURN”. So you drive straight thru and see a new lane opening up on the left. You pull into that one which crosses over the median to either a stop sign or stop light. Now you can make your left and be on your merry way.
MDOT (thru Click on Detroit) says these median U-turns relieve congestion, lessens the number of accidents, and increases driver safety. Believe it or not, motorists don't have to wait as long to turn left as in 'regular' intersections. They are supposed to increase pedestrian safety as well.
So, over the decades, have these Michigan lefts proven to have decreased accidents? MDOT says they've been reduced up to 60%, the most common being head-on and rear-end collisions.
If you come across a Michigan Left, it usually means there had been a good number of accidents in that area.
And what about roundabouts? Do they really help? There are no stop signs in roundabouts, just 'yield' signs. That means there could possibly be a handful of drivers coming from all directions who feel they have the right of way. Terrific.
THE MICHIGAN LEFT
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