Clever New Intersections Eliminate Risky Left-Turns

When it comes to navigating the roads, most drivers despise those dreaded left-turns – and for good reason. A third of crashes at intersections with traffic lights involve a left-turn, according to data from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Unfortunately, we can’t keep turning right forever, and as much as we would like to, we can’t avoid left-turns altogether. However, the good news is, some highway engineers have created the “diverging diamond interchange,” a new type of road arrangement that eliminates risky left-hand turns.

This new type of intersection has a zero-tolerance policy on left-turns into traffic. Mental Floss does a good job of describing how the intersection functions:

“It works like this: At the intersection, two roadways carrying opposing traffic temporarily swap sides, creating a diamond shape. At the points where the roads intersect, traffic lights regulate who crosses when.”

You can also watch the below video to get a better idea of how the concept works.

Testing of these intersections began last year, and engineers estimated that diverging diamonds should reduce crashes by 33 percent. Since the introduction of these roads to the United States in the early 2000s, they have been introduced in 22 states, and they are especially popular in Utah and Missouri. Hopefully we begin seeing these more of these types of intersections on the road soon!