Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A Wicked Left Turn!!!!!!

So, I came across this on reddit the other day (by "the other" I mean "yester"). Now, if you've never lived in Michigan and experienced the "Michigan boomerang" for yourself, you'll probably think that I'm full of crap and that there is no way that this could possibly be real. I assure you, it's entirely accurate, all the way down to flooring it so you don't get hit by the semi as you complete the second half of the u-turn.

Now, according to the wikipedia article "Studies have shown a major reduction in left-turn collisions and a minor reduction in merging and diverging collisions, due to the shifting of left turns outside the main intersection. In addition it reduces the number of different traffic light phases, significantly increasing traffic flow. Since separate phases are no longer needed for left turns, this increases green time for through traffic. The effect on turning traffic is mixed."

I have some problems with this description, mainly because the effect on turning traffic is not "mixed." It's mainly bad. Normally, you might wait through a left turn light for one full cycle if you have bad timing. If you have bad timing at a Michigan left, you might have to wait through 3 red lights (this happens about 60% of the time in my experience.)

But anyway, the effect on traffic is not what I was trying to say. What I was trying to say was something along the lines of the excess miles drive to accommodate the Michigan Left.

Let's take some pulled-out-of-my-ass estimates here. Say there are 1000* such intersections in Michigan and that the average number of turns per day is 1500**. I have no idea if these are reasonable assumptions. But anyway, that means 1.5 million turns are tooken eachen day. Now, one time I measured how far I had to drive to make the right-turn-u-turn-to-make-a-left turn. It was about 0.25 miles. That means that every day, vehicles travel an additional 375,000 miles. Annually, that's 136,875,000 extra miles driven in Michigan. That also means that an additional 1.23*** billion tons of CO2 are emitted by these cars! That's more CO2 than is produced by all the sheep in New Zealand and all the caribou in Canada COMBINED***! So if you want to blame global warming on anything, blame it on Michigan. The world needs a good whipping boy, and Michigan is so down on its luck that it won't even notice the difference.

*Could be off by an order of magnitude.

**Might be nowhere close to reality since nobody has a job in Michigan anymore.

***Absolutely no basis for this claim whatsoever.

1 comment:

Maggie said...

I believe all of it. Stupid Michigan.