As we were getting ready to head to Germany in May of 2018 a co-worker and I were talking about driving on the Autobahn. This conversation somehow led us to talk about driving on the left side of the road versus driving on the right side of the road. Even though German drivers, as well as most of Europe, drive on the right also, it made me stop and think why some countries drive on the left. The only time I remember us driving on the left-hand side was when we were in England and Wales. It was quite an interesting experience, lol It also made me wonder how many countries actually do drive on the left. So I did a little research.
This was the first thing I found. Apparently throughout most of history, driving on the left seems to have been standard. You can see this in the layout of cart tracks on Roman roads and so forth. Since most people are right-handed, driving on the left places your stronger hand in the best position to greet those coming the other way. Sadly it also made it more possible to whack them with a sword. Could this have been our first existence of road rage?
It also meant that people leading horses could hold the reins in their right hand and walk at the edge of the road. This was advantageous as the road was likely to be a sea of mud. Most people found it easier to mount a horse from its left, too.
In today’s modern age of cars, in left-driving countries, the driver’s seat is on the right. That puts the right eye, which tends to be stronger, in a better position to see oncoming traffic. It also means that the left hand can change adjust the thermostat and change the radio settings. All this happens while the stronger right hand is the one that stays on the wheel. This one makes a lot of sense to me.
So how many countries actually drive on the left versus driving on the right? It is roughly about 75%. The world map below shows which side of the road traffic drives on. As you can see, most former British colonies, with some exceptions, drive on the left side of the road. Whereas the United States of America, Latin American countries, and European countries drive on the right. I found a lot of this information very interesting. Thus I wanted to share what I found for those who have also wondered why other countries drive on the opposite side of the road than in your country.
As I stated earlier, we have driven on the right side of the road on a trip to England once and we were able to adapt pretty quickly. We did have a manual car and I kept trying to shift with my right hand and hitting the door, lol. I learned eventually, lol. Gene also tried to get me into the car on the driver’s side instead of the passenger side many times, lol. It was funny to think back about this memory and laugh. However, what wasn’t funny, and our biggest issue, was the amount of money we spent on gas/fuel. It can be very expensive in some countries (yes even worse than here in the USA). Read my post 15 Way to Save Gas for some money-saving ideas no matter which country you live in or visit. Hope you found this article interesting and informational.
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