A jughandle is a type of ramp or slip road that changes the way traffic turns left at an at-grade intersection (in a country where traffic drives on the right). Instead of a standard left turn being made from the left lane, left-turning traffic uses a ramp on the right side of the road. In a standard forward jughandle or near-side jughandle, the ramp leaves before the intersection, and left-turning traffic turns left off of it rather than the through road; right turns are also made using the jughandle. In a reverse jughandle or far-side jughandle, the ramp leaves after the intersection, and left-turning traffic loops around to the right and merges with the crossroad before the intersection.
The jughandle is also known as a Jersey left due to its high prevalence within the U.S. state of New Jersey (though this term is also locally used for an abrupt left at the beginning of a green light cycle). The New Jersey Department of Transportation defines three types of jughandles. "Type A" is the standard forward jughandle. "Type B" is a variant with no cross-street intersected by the jughandle; it curves 90 degrees left to meet the main street, and is either used at a "T" intersection or for a U-turn only. "Type C" is the standard reverse jughandle.
A 1956 article in the Asbury Park Press cited a suggestion by the state's top highway planner to add a "jug-handle" on Route 35 to facilitate the flow of traffic. One of the earliest mentions of jughandles in The New York Times is on June 14, 1959, referring to jughandles having been built in New Jersey on U.S. Route 46 in Montville, U.S. Route 22 between North Plainfield and Bound Brook, and Route 35 at Monmouth Park Racetrack, with the article citing the addition of "jug-handle exits" as a way to reduce accidents. By the beginning of 1960, New Jersey had 160 jughandles, most if not all standard before-intersection jughandles. The 160th one was on U.S. Route 1 between New Brunswick and Trenton. Jughandles had been introduced in the 1940s as a way to keep turning vehicles away from the flow of traffic on main roads, but by 2013 a bill to ban the jughandle had made it to the floor of the New Jersey Senate.
In Perth, Western Australia
In Nanaimo, British Columbia:
In Markham, Ontario:
In Toronto, Ontario:
In Cologne, North Rhine-Westphalia:
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While jughandles are largely associated with New Jersey, the states of Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Ohio, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New York, New Hampshire, Wisconsin, and Vermont also use jughandles at several intersections. Jughandles are possible in other locations as they are a valid type of intersection control to consider for intersection design.
On New Jersey State Highways and Pennsylvania State Highways, a white sign is placed before a jughandle or at the beginning of a stretch of jughandles saying "All turns from right lane", or a similar message. Each jughandle is marked with a white sign below the standard green sign, saying "All turns", or "U and left turns" in the case of a reverse jughandle.
On locally maintained roads, and in other states, jughandle signage can appear to be haphazard and confusing to out of state drivers.