Connecticut Has an Absurd Amount of Left Exits, the Most in New England by Far
There are a total of 880 highway exits in the State of CT.
The total number of left exits in the Nutmeg State is 56 according to NBC. Just some quick math tells me that over 6% of our exits are left exits. The next state closest to us in the Northeast is Massachusetts with 39 left exits and from there it drops way off. In fact, there are no left exits in 27 states in America. In case you were wondering, these numbers are bad and super dangerous.
Northwestern University actually published a study on left-hand exits in America and pointed out some of the problems they create. These are just a few of the issues sited in that study:
- Repeated and hazardous lane changing by trucks and other vehicles moving at speeds slower than freeway running speeds, especially where trucks must enter or leave on an ascending grade.
- In increase in weaving at left-hand off - and on-ramps.
- The left-hand lane, the traditional high-speed lane, is slowed down as a result of merging maneuvers.
- Some driver confusion and hesitancy results from being confronted by a left-hand off-ramp, especially where signing is poor and the facility is one carrying a high-percentage of out-of-state traffic.
- Increased accidents and hazardous maneuvers.
We've all seen it, use Exit 7 on I-84 East as an example. In 2019, the I-84 West ramp was named the most dangerous in the Nutmeg State. But you don't need a study to tell you how dangerous it is, we've all experienced it. What do we encounter there? On a regular basis, you can see confused drivers make a last-ditch effort to change lanes dramatically. People either realize they want to get off Exit 7 (on the left), or stay on I-84 to get to Exit 8 or beyond and it leads to big trouble.
So why do we have so many if they are not safe? According to NBC, many of the guidelines for having exits be on the right were drawn up after these CT roads were in place.
For freeway exiting, Auto Club South recommends a driver position themselves in the proper lane and begin signaling your exit well in advance. But, if you are an out-of-state driver who doesn't know that a left exit is coming, all of the safety tips in the world will not help you. Anticipation, preparation and proper speed reduction become near impossible with a left-exit, and we're lucky enough to have 56 of these.
Look, Connecticut is a great place to live in a lot of ways, but transportation is no feather in our cap. We are bad at moving to-and-from by car, and we are not safe doing so. I didn't even mention Exit 3 on I-84 West (pictured above). You wanna hit up the mall for some new pants and you end up in a death race. First, you encounter trouble trying to make the left exit, and then encountering more merging traffic on the right just before the mall exit.
Here is all you need to know about how f---- up freeway driving is in CT. If you are headed West on I-84, there is an Exit 6, but you can forget about Exit 6 if you are east-bound, because it's not there. There is no Exit 6 East, they flat-out skipped it bro! One minute you are at 5, then boom, 7. It's not a good look for us and makes people think we can't count.
P.S. Believe it or not, the study out of Northwestern does not conclude that left exits are that much more dangerous than right exits but they did determine there was a need for more research. You don't say? N.U. should really take a deep dive into our taxes as well and maybe they'll determine those are "A-OK" or "normal."
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