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Ask A Trooper: Question about reduced conflict intersections

Question: How do troopers, deputies and city police like the new style of intersections where drivers can’t go straight across another roadway, but instead have to take a right and go down a ways, then turn around and then make a right turn again?

Also, what is the deal: left turns are bringing traffic away from the regular lanes of traffic and you are in that lane for longer than normal?

Answer: I can’t speak for everyone, but we should love them because they reduce crashes, injuries and deaths. I realize that some people don’t seem to like them at first, but they get use to them. You have to understand that those types of intersections you are seeing or talking about are a result of a lot of studies and planning. They are commonly referred to by those in the traffic safety world as reduced conflict intersections.

These intersections are safer and they are faster to build and they reduce the chances of crashes. When compared to a typical four-lane divided intersection where there are 42 conflict points, there are only 24 conflict points in a typical reduced conflict intersection, making them much safer than normal intersections. You can copy and paste this website below in your favorite online search engine and you will see how these types of intersections work and the value they have in traffic safety:

You can also see a great sample of a recent intersection project by going to:

As for the left turn part of these intersections, it brings the vehicles in a position where they can see oncoming traffic better and eliminates the opportunity for the “last second turner” and prevents crashes. They are longer too, to handle more turning vehicles. Thanks for asking and giving us the opportunity to give our perspective as well as the facts.

— Sgt. Curt S. Mowers is with the Minnesota State Patrol.