As a little girl and before I could drive, I tagged along with my mother as she ran errand after errand in her Oldsmobile station wagon. My mother’s navigation was borderline pathological—no left turns! As I grew into a teen, this drove me crazy. No impulse stops EVER, unless they required a right turn. She would lecture me on the virtue of her “no left turn” strategy. In her view, it was more efficient and safer. I did not agree.
Well, as a mother myself, I now know that mothers are always right. Last week, I discovered that my mother was in fact a ”Route Optimizer.” And, she was not alone. UPS delivery trucks, for example only turn left when it is absolutely necessary. This practice saves 10 million gallons of fuel per year, not to mention a significant reduction in traffic accidents. This practice is nothing new for UPS—they have been doing it for years—even before GPS and proprietary routing software. I suppose at one time, UPS had a department full of “Route Optimizers” working around the clock to design the perfect delivery route. But I don’t need further evidence that my mother was always right to turn right.