My home is not a place, it is people.
Published on June 9, 2004 By Cordelia In Misc
Ok, so I went to our storage unit today to drop off the last load of boxes. Making a left turn in Michigan is almost more annoying than trying to make a left in Downtown LA during rush hour. "They" - whoever they are - have decided in their little pointy heads that they can't just allow anyone to make a left turn when they want to. To make a left turn you are often forced to go down to the next stoplight and make a u-turn and come back. Obviously that is so much more efficient and better for traffic than just allowing people to make a left whenever the fancy strikes them. For example, say when someone wants to get on the freeway. It would be silly to just allow them to get on the freeway, so they force you to take your time about getting onto that on-ramp, just on the off chance you'll come to your senses and stay home instead. Ah yes, a very efficient plan.

Then of course instead of getting onto the 275 south like I was supposed to I got on the the M14 and didn't even realize it at first. I mean, nothing looked familiar, but then again nothing out here does look familiar to me. It's all just kind of generally green. I managed to get myself turned around though and back home and thus I am writing this blog. Otherwise I may have ended up on the mean streets of Toledo, or wherever that road leads, and may never have made it back.

Having said all of that, Michigan is one of the greenest states I have ever seen. Southern California is fairly brown, all things considered. It is a desert after all. It's quite lovely here. It might even rain today. I do like rain. At the moment.

Comments (Page 1)
on Jun 09, 2004

You'll get used to the Michigan lefts after awhile.....and it's really only the Detroit metro area that has them.  I never knew what they were until I moved down to that area. 

M14, assuming you were at where I think you were, will take you toward Ann Arbor.  Then you would have been sucked into the outdoor cafes and one way streets

on Jun 09, 2004
The odd thing about the Micagan left, is how quick you get used to it. I dont even notice anymore. But they pissed me off when I first got here.
on Jun 09, 2004
I have never been to Michigan. Do they have some sort of barrier that prevents left turns?
on Jun 09, 2004
they are divided streets that only have certain areas that you can turn on to the lanes going the other way.  So, you have to go further than your turn, turn at the turn area, then turn right into where you are going.  It actually keeps the traffic moving better, but it takes a bit of getting used to.
on Jun 09, 2004
Sounds like me when I first started driving in New Jersey

In most areas, instead of a standard left turn, they have "jug handles" which basically means that if you want to turn left, you have to be in the right lane (makes sense) and take the jug handle around to the light and then go straight through to complete the left turn. Very confusing until you get used to it.

First time I called someone for directions in NJ the guy says "....and then, when you get to blah blah street, take the jug handle and turn left....." After he was finished, I said " Ok, I got all that. Just one question. What the HELL is a jug handle?"

It's really amusing the crazy ideas they get to control traffic.
on Jun 09, 2004
They have the same problem in Sydney... one way streets all over the place, not allowing right turns!!!

In Melbourne we are lucky though... for some reason, the town planners had the forsight to see beyond horse and cart transit! and they made the roads sufficiently wide enough at the beginning!!!

BAM!!!
on Jun 09, 2004

Glad you think our fine state is lovely.  Spring and Fall are my favorite times in MI.  Fall is my absolute favorite  but also the shortest


I am a little biased about MI since I have lived here all of my life.  But hey, I'm happy here.  If it ain't broken, don't fix it


Best wishes.

on Jun 10, 2004

Yeah, I live off M-59, a road known for its painful Michigan lefts. It's quite sad when my Bank is only 1000 feet from my apartment complex, but I have to head in the opposite direction, turn left and do a 180, go past my Bank and wait for the next Michigan left to turn, and then shoot all the way across to the far right lane just to go in to it. It takes me 5 minutes with all the traffic.

Oh well, you get use to it and it makes me look forward to moving further north where they aren't used as much. Yeah!!!

on Jun 10, 2004
Welcome to Michigan! Once you get used to the Michigan Left the next thing you'll notice about our lovely roads is the abundance of orange barrels that are always strategically placed exactly where you are trying to get to, the speed of which the Michigan winter completely destroys first your cars finish and then your car itself, and lastly all the marvelous tire eating potholes that adorn just about every single road.

Just lease your car and get a new one every 3 years which is about exactly how long it takes to start falling apart here.. =P


on Oct 04, 2004
They have the same problem in Sydney... one way streets all over the place, not allowing right turns!!!In Melbourne we are lucky though... for some reason, the town planners had the forsight to see beyond horse and cart transit! and they made the roads sufficiently wide enough at the beginning!!!BAM!!!


Same as some other places
on Sep 28, 2005
I know it's almost been a year since the last comment, but I've had the very unique experience of living on a road (Grand Rapids' Lake Michigan Drive - M45) before and after it was constructed to be a four lane boulevard with Michigan Lefts (they are common around there too). Before the reconstruction, I had to improvise a Michigan Left, because once traffic was done flowing from one direction, it'd flow from another direction, and it was not uncommon for motorists to sit for minutes. When I improvised my turn, I would turn right, then around in another business' parking lot on the opposite side of the road, and as I go the other way, I would see cars that were in other driveways and intersections still waiting.

After they reconstruction of M45 with the Michigan Lefts, I was actually in 7th heaven. Now I just wish planners in the Flint area had enough foresight to put them on Miller Road. If you're new to them, they can be a slight pain at first, but then you realize how good they really are in cutting your time, and in some cases, you'll be wishing there were more (like I did).
on Oct 11, 2005
I can tell you're an out-of-stater -- you refer to getting onto the 275 and the M14. Be a mensch (so to speak)! Give the number, and forget about writing articles (grin)!

As for Michigan lefts, I'll admit that I'm sort of an out-of-stater when it comes to them. They apparently only started introducing them after I moved from Michigan to Florida and Alabama. I've encountered a few in the Battle Creek area when I'm visiting home. Actually, they do improve traffic flow; people often had to improvise Michigan Lefts to turn onto insanely busy highways anyway. This just formalizes the affair. Seeing as how your original post is a year old plus now, you're probably used to them by this point.
on Oct 15, 2005
Well, Michigan is in the forethought of traffic planning. We passed a law that says, 'you can turn right on red when traffic clears and it is safe to do so' and then decided most of them are too stupid to comprehend 'when traffic clears and it is safe to do so,' so after 4 or 5 morons get creamed, they go around and put up signs that say 'except here.'
on Jan 02, 2006
As a follow up to my last reply... I just moved to Murfreesboro, TN from Michigan (for the job market), and the town is known for growing very fast. It seems that they just added lanes where needed (including double left turn lanes). Traffic flow is some of the worst I have seen. One of the first things I wish we had in this town was the Michigan left, because the left turn lanes (even the double left turn lanes) fill up and then traffic starts backing up, so I have had to result to improvising Michigan lefts, taking side streets, or just waiting like everyone else has to. Several of the main arteries are boulevard style already, so it'd be kind of easy to implement Michigan lefts.

Also, the right turn on red is not just Michigan... it's virtually everywhere, but I don't see many "no turn on red" signs down here. Tennessee's idea of improving traffic flow is just adding lanes it seems.

on Jan 03, 2006
Good lord, I hadn't checked this article in a while and there were all these replies I hadn't read! It's been a year and a half since I wrote this article and indeed, as Bruce - Harper Blue points out, I am used to them. I think part of the frustration evinced in this article came from simply not being used to the area and the different ways of doing things. It's funny how a move across the country can make you just lose your mind for a while. Sometimes you don't even realize just HOW much it affects you!

I mean, don't get me wrong, I was already crazy.

Rgtekt - I have seen what you mean! Sometimes people can't be trusted to do the right or logical thing I guess. Sad, isn't it?

Steven - I guess things could be worse, right?

Thanks for commenting everyone!
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