What’s a Weird Local Traffic Quirk Where You Live?

The Michigan Left: Look upon the face of perfection.

The Michigan Left: Look upon the face of perfection.Image: Wikicommons/By Shadowlink1014

It’s dangerous getting out of your comfort zone sometimes. That zone is comfy for a reason, after all; so familiar! So safe! Stepping out of your door opens you up to all sorts of new experiences and possibilities, including some weirdness on the road.

You won’t instantly know every tradition or custom when you travel, and that goes doubly for driving. Take the legendary Michigan Left. Never was something so ingenious codified into traffic laws. Sure, turning left to go right may not make the most sense to an outsider, but then again what does in this mixed up, muddled up, shook up world?

The Michigan Left makes sense here, because we in the heavily populated Southeast quadrant of the Great Lakes State have a lot of multi-lane surface streets. The famous Woodward Avenue—the first concrete-paved road in the U.S. and the spot for the largest single-day classic-car gathering in the world—is an eight-lane behemoth with traffic split by huge grass medians in certain stretches. A Michigan Left is the only way to negotiate such a complex traffic layout.

So we needed this quirky little number to allow us to quickly access the other side of the street or even make right turns while keeping things moving. If your hands have never experienced the mad energy of slinging your steering wheel back and forth in the embrace of a Michigan Left, the thrill of crossing multiple lanes of traffic just to make a U-turn and do it all over again on the other side of a boulevard and maybe, finally, make it to that Trader Joe’s, then allow this diagram to help make sense of it for you:

Image for article titled What's a Weird Local Traffic Quirk Where You Live?

G/O Media may get a commission

Happy Head

Grow those luscious locks back
This proprietary, prescription-grade topical Finasteride is proven to regrow hair in just a few months.

Perfection. A vision in early city planning.

Other states and towns have their own versions of the Michigan Left. I recently learned about the Jersey Left, which serves a similar purpose to the Michigan Left: getting you across the intersection while reducing the risk of a broadside crash. What weird or specific driving maneuver is unique to your region? Let us know in the comments below.


Leave a Comment