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Waze begins steering drivers away from nerve-racking L.A. intersections

Waze begins steering drivers away from nerve-racking L.A. intersections
A new feature in Waze that's launching first in Los Angeles on Friday seeks to help people avoid risky left turns, though it may lengthen some commutes. (Waze)

The popular navigation app Waze is known for steering drivers toward briskly moving side streets. But avoiding traffic-choked main roads altogether is difficult, so users would often find themselves forced to make stressful left turns from tiny streets onto a multi-lane arteries – sometimes without a traffic light to aid them.

On Friday, Waze announced it will begin directing Los Angeles users away from those potential moments of angst. But avoiding difficult intersections comes at a cost: the new feature could lengthen some drives, Waze said.

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Waze spokeswoman Julie Mossler said some users have no problem making daring turns. But many created their own detours at risky intersections and ended up on longer routes. Waze aims to improve the experience for the latter group while still giving the rest the option to continue with the difficult paths.

Los Angeles is the first region to get the new routing option, with the company relying on users to add difficult intersections to its database.

The initial list of about 100 cuts down on having to make lefts such as from Selby Avenue across three lanes onto Pico Boulevard in West Los Angeles or 19th Street onto Wilshire Boulevard in Santa Monica. It also will avoid forcing drivers to bisect straightaways like Melrose Avenue in West Hollywood from West Knoll Drive.

Instead, Waze will point people to nearby lights or rely on right turns. Users may still be directed through the challenging junctions when alternatives are "significantly longer," according to Waze.

Support for other cities is expected to launch later.

Twitter: @peard33

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