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Waze will finally stop telling you to make those awful left turns

Drivers of Los Angeles, your prayers have been answered.

You love Waze. How else would you get from Venice to Atwater Village on a Friday afternoon? But you don't always love its directions. An unprotected left turn onto Beverly Blvd. in the middle of Koreatown during rush hour. Who designed this thing?!

Waze's penchant for directing drivers to make unprotected left turns onto busy, traffic-choked streets is probably the #1 complaint about the navigation app among its L.A. users.

Which is why Google, which owns Waze, has finally introduced a feature that will let drivers avoid left turns — and Angelenos are the first to try it.

On Friday, Waze announced its Difficult Intersections feature:

Waze will automatically calculate the best route that also bypasses tricky intersections. But when these alternate routes are significantly longer, drivers may still be routed through difficult intersections.

"The goal of the feature is to reduce the amount of these intersections, not completely eliminate them," according Waze.

An  illustration of Waze's Difficult Intersections feature, which the app debuted on Friday, June 17, 2016.
Image via Waze
An illustration of Waze's Difficult Intersections feature, which the app debuted on Friday, June 17, 2016.

Waze said it worked with the company's local map editor and employees as well as the city of L.A. to identify the worst intersections.

For now, the feature is only available in Los Angeles but it will soon expand to New Orleans and then roll out globally.

An  illustration of Waze's Difficult Intersections feature, which the app debuted on Friday, June 17, 2016.
image via Waze
An illustration of Waze's Difficult Intersections feature, which the app debuted on Friday, June 17, 2016.

Drivers who don't want the feature on can disable it in the app's Settings. But for L.A. drivers, the Difficult Intersections setting is automatically enabled.

If Difficult Intersections isn't enabled (ours wasn't), here's what you do:

  1. Open the app and go to Settings
  2. Scroll down to Advanced Settings and select Navigation
  3. Look for the words "Reduce difficult intersections" and slide the tab next to it to the right until the slider is green

The Settings screen (left) and the Navigation screen (right) in Waze.
Elina Shatkin
The Settings screen (left) and the Navigation screen (right) in Waze.

Voila. At least that's one hyperlocal driving issue that's being addressed.