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Why Do Some Countries Drive on the Left?


Judi has always been curious as to why some countries drive on the right side of the road while other countries drive on the left.

The Rule of the Road

It's basic common sense that if you have traffic driving in two directions on the same road, you need the flow of traffic organised so that everyone going in one direction keeps to the same side of the road. This is the rule of the road. Without it, head-on collisions would increase, and traffic would soon be gridlocked. Most of the world keeps its traffic on the right-hand side, yet there are a number of countries that drive on the left.

Just why do some countries drive on the left when the majority drive on the right? It's not as simple as an arbitrary decision, and there are a number of theories to explain the division. Here are some of the possible reasons, together with a list of those countries where they drive on the left.

Romans Drove on the Left

Durocornovium was a Roman settlement near the present day town of Swindon in the UK. The Romans quarried stone at the site, and it is here that archaeologists found evidence to support the theory of the Romans driving on the left. Shallow ruts were found on one side of the track, deep grooves on the other. The deeper marks, caused by the heavily stone-laden carts leaving the quarry, were on the left side of the track.

Driving on the Left in Ancient Times

Driving on the left appears to be man's preferred driving side. Historians and archaeologists (see box right) have uncovered plenty of evidence to show that the ancient Romans and Greeks not only drove their carts and chariots on the left but also marched their armies on the left and required pedestrians to use the left-hand side.

But why did people choose the left, rather than the right?

Britain's First Keep Left Law

In 1756 the British Government passed a law requiring traffic to keep to the left on London Bridge. Up until that time it was custom, not law, that kept traffic on the left of the road.

Driving on the Left and Self-Defence

Most people are right-handed; hence they would carry a weapon in their right hand. When travelling, it makes sense to keep to the left so that if you meet someone on the road, and the stranger was unfriendly, you were both in a position to draw swords and fight. As people began to ride more, they could hold the horse's reins in their left hand and keep their right hand ready for trouble. For this reason, armies marched on the left and knights practised jousting on the left.

Travelling on the left made perfect sense in a violent society, and the habit remained throughout the world up until the eighteenth century. Then, a change to the right began.

Australian road sign reminding foreign visitors of which side of the road to drive on.

Australian road sign reminding foreign visitors of which side of the road to drive on.

Why the Switch from the Left to the Right?

Generations of travellers, riders and coach drivers had been keeping left. By the end of the eighteenth century, a change began. It wasn't because drivers were less likely to be attacked on the road (although that may have been true); it was because the type of trucks they used changed.

The traditional type of cart had a driver's seat at the front, and the driver could sit on the right-hand side of the seat and see what was coming on his right. However, the French and Americans, with wider roads, adopted heavier trucks with teams of horses. These wagons had no seat for the driver, and he had to ride postillion, mounted on the left rear horse. Being mounted in this position, he could use a whip in his right hand to control the horses. It made sense to drive on the right so that the driver could see oncoming traffic and avoid the wheels. Hence, the USA and France began to drive on the right.

Britain never adopted the new heavy wagons, perhaps because the streets in her towns were too narrow, so there was no need to change the rule of the road. As Britain started building an empire, the left-hand side rule was exported to new countries all over the world. The French introduced their rule of the road to their colonies. The divide became global.

World Map Showing Countries Driving on the Left Side

Countries driving on the right shown red, countries driving on the left shown blue.

Countries driving on the right shown red, countries driving on the left shown blue.

Countries Driving on the Left Become a Minority

The decline of driving on the left gathered pace in the twentieth century. Many former British colonies switched to make it easier to cross borders with their right hand driving neighbours. Gradually, only Britain, a few of her former colonies and Japan were left driving on the left. Roughly two-thirds of the world drive on the right, the remaining one-third remaining on the left.

Dagen H: Sweden Changes from Driving on the Left

Chaos in Stockholm as the country switches from driving on the left to the right in 1967.

Chaos in Stockholm as the country switches from driving on the left to the right in 1967.

Why Don't Left Side Driving Countries Change?

The European Union would have liked Britain to fall into line with the rest of Europe and drive on the right. However, it was estimated about 20 years ago that this would cost in the region of £6 billion. In addition to the cost, it's unlikely that the British people would be in favour.

It's not unheard of for a country to change; the most recent change in Europe was Sweden. On "Dagen H" ("H Day"), 3 September 1967, the traffic changed sides, despite the public voting against the change over a period of 40 years previously. Although there was initial chaos, there were, in fact, fewer traffic accidents than usual.

Some countries have actually changed from right to left side driving. In 2009 for instance, Samoa became the first country for nearly 40 years to change its traffic side. The change was made to allow Samoans to buy cheaper imported left side drive (e.g., right-hand drive!) vehicles from nearby Australia, New Zealand and Japan.

Countries Which Drive on the Left

AnguillaEireMalaysiaSolomon IslandsUganda

Antigua & Barbuda

Falkland Islands


South Africa

United Kingdom




Sri Lanka

US Virgin Islands




St Kitts & Nevis





St Helena





St Lucia





British Virgin Islands


New Zealand






Cayman Islands


Papua New Guinea


Channel Islands







Trinidad and Tobago




Turks & Caicos Islands

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2012 Judi Brown


Nev Mason on July 28, 2016:

Most people mount a horse from the left so in countries that drive on the left you mount standing off the road (you still find old sets of steps to mount horses in England at the left side of the road). Driving on the right you stand in the middle of the road to mount - dangerous! Also in a left hand drive car you steer with the left hand (the WRONG hand) and change gear with the right so have less control than the other way around (imagine being forced to shoot a rifle from the left shoulder if you were right handed!). If we're talking about the USA then drive by shootings would be a lot easier if Americans drove on the left - how can you possibly drive and shoot out of the driver's window with the right hand?

Judi Brown (author) from UK on October 30, 2014:

I learnt to drive in the US in an automatic and have largely stuck with them back in the UK, so no pesky gear changing to confuse me!

freecampingaussie from Southern Spain on October 29, 2014:

Yes ! I was scared at first .. Fine the next day even on the highway...However it seemed ok going round the roundabout the wrong way-I think because I am left handed ha ha ! It took a while to stop trying to open the door when I went to change gear or put windscreen wipers on when I went to indicate . That was the hardest, learning to use the gear-stick with my hand never felt right but driving is fine

Judi Brown (author) from UK on October 29, 2014:

Hi freecampingaussie - it's surprising how quickly you get used to driving on the "wrong" side though! Thanks for commenting, I appreciate it.

freecampingaussie from Southern Spain on October 29, 2014:

Interesting hub as we drove on the left in NZ ,Australia and then Britain so driving on the wrong side of the road in Europe took some getting used to !

Judi Brown (author) from UK on October 29, 2014:

Thanks for the information, I will look into it.

John D on October 29, 2014:

America did not go over to the right because of large wagons.

At the time of the War of Independence in the US, Napoleon sent General Laffyette with troops to help the Americans fight against the British. It was they who introduced the driving/marching on the right as had happened in France.

Judi Brown (author) from UK on June 05, 2013:

Hi FlourishAnyway - it's interesting to find out how the split between left and right occurred, isn't it? Thanks for your comments!

FlourishAnyway from USA on June 05, 2013:

This was a fun hub on a topic that I have occasionally wondered about. Glad to know the answer now! I thought the US was the odd-ball, so it's good to know we're in the majority on this one.

Judi Brown (author) from UK on March 19, 2013:

Sorry for the delay in replying to your comments Indigestion, affiliateinfobiz and Tarun Bajaj - for some reason they were in my spam folder. Thanks for all your comments, I appreciate them.

Judi Brown (author) from UK on February 06, 2013:

Hi CarNoobz - yes, there's lots of cool stuff associated with the things we do everyday without thinking about them. Glad you enjoyed the hub. Thanks so much for your comments and the votes - much appreciated.

CarNoobz from USA on February 04, 2013:

That's like how we shake hands with our right. As a sign of goodwill (putting down your weapon to shake hands).

Cool stuff. Voted up

Hari Haran from Namakkal on January 21, 2013:

Thank you so much for your appreciation.

Judi Brown (author) from UK on January 21, 2013:

Hi Winnerofworld - you make a good point about left side brain function.

Thanks very much for taking the time to comment, I appreciate it.

Hari Haran from Namakkal on January 21, 2013:

I'm an Indian, we follow to drive on left side of road. It is very safety for our left side of brain too while driving.

Judi Brown (author) from UK on January 17, 2013:

Hi Zsuzsi - glad you liked it! You're right, it is good to find out about life's little oddities! Thanks very much for your comments, I appreciate them.

Zsuzsi from London on January 17, 2013:

This is an insightful hub. It's good to know why there are left and right side driving countries.

Judi Brown (author) from UK on December 17, 2012:

HI torrilynn - I glad that this hub answered your question and you found it interesting.

Thanks very much for taking the time to comment, I appreciate it.

torrilynn on December 17, 2012:

This is a very interesting hub. I've always wondered why other countries drove on the left side of the road. Now that I know helps me to better understand why. lol. The history behind this hub was very thorough and nice. Thank you for this hub. Voted up.

Judi Brown (author) from UK on November 26, 2012:

Hi EuroNinila - my pleasure! Thanks for taking the time to comment, I appreciate it.

Fotinoula Gypsyy from NYC BABY on November 25, 2012:

Interesting hub! I never thought about this till now! lol thank you for sharing!

Judi Brown (author) from UK on November 10, 2012:

Hi Andy - you might be right about the difficulty of managing the controls with a left-hand drive car - perhaps that's why automatic transmissions are so popular in the US, it cuts out fiddling around with the gear stick. Which is right and which is wrong? You're right, they're wrong, of course ;-)

Thanks for taking the time to comment, it's appreciated.

Andy Aitch from UK & South East Asian Region on November 09, 2012:

I'm a British expat living in the north of Thailand Judi Bee, and we drive on their left here. For me personally, the hardest part about driving on the right (I tried it in Holland), is the left hand drive. I just couldn't get to grips with the controls.

Most of my mates from varying countries still say things like; "Why do you guys continue to drive on the WRONG side of the road?". I never quite know how to respond to that, no really knowing if there is a right or wrong way.

Andy Aitch

Judi Brown (author) from UK on October 19, 2012:

Hi shai77 - most of us don't think about the everyday things in our lives, we just accept them. It's fun to find out the reasons behind the mundane!

Many thanks for your comments, much appreciated.

Chen on October 19, 2012:

Interesting, never thought about this. Never thought there was a real reason, just something that happened. Thanks for the little informative information there, I sound really smart at my next party. Great hub

Judi Brown (author) from UK on October 08, 2012:

Hi annart - if I remember correctly, they have something similar to the priority to the right law in the US - or they did in Louisiana, anyway. Tractors can be a nuisance wherever they are - I know that they are essential vehicles etc, but I do sometimes imagine the tractor driver chortling away as he chugs along with a mile-lone tailback behind him. Sorry to hear about your accident - glad you are OK!

Hi freecampingaussie - I've never thought about the effect of right/left-handedness on driving - I guess it could make it easier.

Many thanks to both of you for your comments, much appreciated!

freecampingaussie from Southern Spain on October 07, 2012:

Hi ! We are used to driving on the left being from Wales, growing up in New Zealand and now in Australia . When we were in England for a while we took the car by Ferry to Europe & it was confusing driving on the wrong side of the road and nearly had a few accidents .

As I am left handed it feels better being on the left side of the road lol! Voting this up as very interesting !

Ann Carr from SW England on October 07, 2012:

Funny I should come across this hub today - we were only just talking about the subject with our friends here in France. I knew about the sword thing but that's all. This is a really interesting and well-written hub.

I drive a lot in France and had an accident at Easter time, due to their 'priority to the right' law at unmarked junctions. I was familiar with this law but happened to encounter an old Frenchman who didn't take into account a large lorry hampering his view! Now that's a law that should be changed here! It used to apply on the open road too so fast traffic had to give way to a tractor coming out of a side road - imagine the accidents! At least it's now limited to towns. Ah well, the car's repaired now although I try to avoid as many town centres as possible! Voted up, useful and interesting.

Tarun Bajaj on September 30, 2012:

very useful information especially the reasons why we drive on left and switched to right, and why few countries still drive on left.

Judi Brown (author) from UK on September 29, 2012:

Hi SidKemp - I can answer you about the Chunnel - you don't drive in the Chunnel, you park on a "wagon train" and drive off at the other end. The train keeps to the left! From what I see, most of the cars here are driver on the right, but you occasionally get imports that are the opposite.

Thanks very much for reading and commenting, I appreciate it.

Sid Kemp from Boca Raton, Florida (near Miami and Palm Beach) on September 28, 2012:

Fun hub! Fascinating! The effect of postillion horses on the side of the road for driving was completely new to me. And I love those kinds of historical traces.

I'd love to know how the US Virgin Islands ended up driving on the left - the only place that does in the US.

And which side do people drive on in the Chunnel? And how do they sort it out when they get into France or England?

And, among countries that drive on the left, how many use cars like England (driver on the right) and how many use cars like the US (driver on the left)?

Judi Brown (author) from UK on September 25, 2012:

Hi Susan - I still have trouble with metric!

Hi Catsimmons - lots of Brits take their cars across to France - my husband is fine with it, I couldn't cope!

Hi Mr. Busdriver - in the UK we stick to the left.

Hi Twinstimes2 - glad to hear you're not having to carry a weapon while you drive!

Hi JS Matthew - no, it's the UK whch is a stick-in-the-mud!

Hi LupitaRonquillo - very challenting to drve after a pub visit, I'm sure!

Hi werliyu - glad you enjoyed the hub!

Hi Lesleysherwood - it would be nice if we all did the same thing, but I doubt it's going to happen aytime soon.

May thanks to all of you, I really appreciate you coments!

Lesleysherwood on September 25, 2012:

Never really thought about it before, but I do feel the whole world should be united now in this modern age of travel.

werliyu from Shah Alam on September 24, 2012:

I like this info. I am from Malaysia, and we drive on the left!!

LupitaRonquillo on September 24, 2012:

Interesting topic! When I visited the UK, I ended up driving my girlfriend's car back to her flat after a pub night out with some of her friends but since I don't drink, naturally I became the designated driver! It was challenging to say the least.

JS Matthew from Massachusetts, USA on September 24, 2012:

This was very interesting and informative. I always wondered about this and thought that the USA was just trying to be different (like using "standard" measurement system instead of "metric".) Thanks for clearing this up! You found some great photos to show what you are telling. Well done! Congrats on the Hub of the Day. Voted and shared.


Karen Lackey from Ohio on September 24, 2012:

I don't carry a weapon when I drive so this is maybe why we drive on the right side. :) I learned quite a bit! Interesting read and congrats on Hub of the day!

Mr.Busdriver on September 24, 2012:

We all have to live with the traffic that we are causing and I believe that this is so very true. Do you know do these countries also fly on the left verse the right side of air traffic lanes?

Catherine Simmons from Mission BC Canada on September 24, 2012:

Love this hub!

As an ex-pat Brit in Canada I've had experience of both sides too.

I find it easy either way now, although it helps to have the steering wheel on the appropriate side of the car!

Susan Zutautas from Ontario, Canada on September 24, 2012:

I've been waiting all day to read your well deserved HOTD and have finally made it here. What an interesting hub. I've always thought if I ever went over to the UK I'd have a really hard time adjusting to driving on the opposite side to what I'm accustomed to. I figure if I could get used to the metric system I can get used to anything :)

Fantastic hub! Oh and Congrats!

affiliateinfobiz on September 24, 2012:

wow this is very interesting. Thanks for this hub

Judi Brown (author) from UK on September 24, 2012:

Hi ComfortB - I would think it would be chaos! Thanks for your kind comments, I appreciate them.

Comfort Babatola from Bonaire, GA, USA on September 24, 2012:

We switched from left to right driving in Nigeria in the 70's. It definitely was chaos, but eventually we got it right.

Congrats on the HOTD award!

Judi Brown (author) from UK on September 24, 2012:

Hi Ged1962 - I learned to drive in the US and then had to adapt to the UK when I returned - so I've seen it from both sides (quite literally!)

Hi Alicia - thanks very much!

Hi DIzyMsLizzy - thanks! Yes, it does get confusing as we British do like to think that we are driving on the right side of the road, everyone else is on the wrong/right side!

Hi ithabise - as mentioned above, I've driven on both sides and it's fairly easy to adapt, but can throw you a curve sometimes!

Thanks very much to all of you for taking the time to read and comment, it's appreciated!

Michael S from Danville, VA on September 24, 2012:

Very interesting read and congratulations on making HOTD! I had to learn to drive on the left when I lived in Japan. Many people don't realize that you drive on the left while sitting on the right. Everything, for Americans, is opposite to custom. It takes some getting used to...a different feel. But before long I was zipping along fine! Your history of countries making the switch (Sweden, Samoa) is fascinating. Thanks for this great hub!

Liz Elias from Oakley, CA on September 24, 2012:

Congratulations on HOTD! What a fascinating bit of historical perspective. I have often wondered about this myself, apparently along with many fellow Hubbers!

I had to laugh at the comment from "Horatio Plot," and his pun on the "right" side--it reminded me of a T-shirt the left-handed son of one of my friends had. It read, "Since the right side of the brain controls the left side of the body, lefties are the only people in their right minds."

Good job, here, most interesting. Voted up and across...plus shared.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on September 24, 2012:

This is an informative and very interesting hub, Judi! Congratulations on hub of the day.

Jose Salvatierra from United Kingdom on September 24, 2012:

Really interesting article! I just moved over to the UK from Spain so it's quite fun to read this!

Ged1962 from UK on September 24, 2012:

I couldn't imagine driving on the right with a left hand drive vehicle.. it would I imagine be similar to being left handed :) Interesting reason for driving on the left, it makes sense but then again I have been driving on the left (most of the time) all my driving life.

Judi Brown (author) from UK on September 24, 2012:

Hi ladies!

Maria - in the UK we drive on the left hand side of the road, but our cars are right hand drive (ie the driver sits on the right hand seat in the front of the car so that she can see on coming traffic).

Randomcreative - thanks for your kind comments, I am delighted to have HOTD!

Suzettenaples - thanks for taking the time to come back, that's really kind of you :)

Lisa - it's great to find that such ordinary stuff can be interesting.

Theraggededge - yes, I am sure you are right about mounting horses - thanks!

I appreciate all your comments, thanks so much :-)

Bev G from Wales, UK on September 24, 2012:

I bet there is also some link to the fact that, usually, we mount and dismount horses on the left. No-one would want to jump off their steed and get squished by a passing brewer's dray!

Love your quirky history hubs, Judi-Bee!

Lisa from WA on September 24, 2012:

I always wondered why differet countries drive on different sides of the road. Very fascinating article!

Suzette Walker from Taos, NM on September 24, 2012:

Congratulations on a well-deserved HOTD! I had read and commented on this earlier. Great article and great hub!

Rose Clearfield from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on September 24, 2012:

What a great topic for an article! You did a great job breaking down the information and including a lot of different components of this subject. Love the format here. Congrats on getting HOTD. :)

Maria Cecilia from Philippines on September 24, 2012:

Judi Bee congrats worthy of being a hub for the day.... I don't drive but I wish to know if right hand driving means, the driver is at the right side of the car? I think Singapore is now driving at the right.

Judi Brown (author) from UK on September 24, 2012:

Hi Your Cousins - I agree completely about the need for a cab in foreign countries - so much less stressful :D

Hi Sharon - thanks very much, I am delighted!

Hi abithewriter - thank you!

Thanks to all of you for reading and commenting, it's appreciated very much!

Judi Brown (author) from UK on September 24, 2012:

Wow - what a lot of comments! Thanks for the congratulations and kind comments all of you. An extra thank you to melpor and boundarybathrooms for spotting the typo - which I had missed entirely - I'll sort that out directly! I am really glad that you all enjoyed this hub, it's one of those hubs that is great to research and write.

Once again, many thanks to all of you for taking the time to read and comment, I really appreciate it :-)

abijith sasikumar from india on September 24, 2012:

great article..

Tyler Tobin from North Carolina on September 24, 2012:

Awesome hub, congrats on being HOTD. I have never thought about the history behind left handed driving, but it makes a lot of sense. Luckily my travels to Europe have only included Right Handed driving countries (so I didn't mess up to bad.) Voted Up!


LT Wright from California on September 24, 2012:

I panicked about driving on the opposite side when I went overseas. Then I figured out that it's actually quite easy. I kept in mind that the steering wheel had to be next to the center divider. But I had to be conscious of it all the time for a while to be sure I didn't forget and make a turn onto an incorrect lane.

Melvin Porter from New Jersey, USA on September 24, 2012:

Judi, this is a good hub and very interesting information. I once drove a moped during a vacation trip in Bermuda on the left side of the road. It was an unusual experience but I got use to it right away. I just followed the guy in front of me. Judi, check your caption below your map. I think you have it reversed, it should be red for driving on the right side and blue for driving on the left side.

David Hunt from Cedar Rapids, Iowa on September 24, 2012:

Great job and very interesting, too. Congratulations on getting Hub of the Day, Judi!

Brianna Caton from London, United Kingdom on September 24, 2012:

Wow, interesting! I'm Australian, but I'd really never stopped to think about it...thanks for such an interesting hub!

Sharon Smith from Northeast Ohio USA on September 24, 2012:

Great hub Judi ~ congrats on your HOTD, well deserved!

Your Cousins from Atlanta, GA on September 24, 2012:

It's always fun to visit countries with different driving patterns, but preferably in a cab. We rented a car in Jamaica in order to drive around the island, but were totally unprepared for the experience. Drivers were very aggressive, streets narrow and there were people walking all along the roadside. It was a bit harrowing, but we had fun. Thanks for the history and congrats on HOTD.

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on September 24, 2012:

Good morning..

I have lived in a country where we drove on the left and it was a bit unnerving at first. Probably more so because I was learning to drive a stick shift and learning to drive on what I considered to be the wrong side of the road. After a bit however I knew this was the way of things and got used to it.

Truthfully I had never questioned why the driving on the left existed. And now thanks to you, I do know.

Congratulations on hub of the day and on the informative article.

Imogen French from Southwest England on September 24, 2012:

An excellent and fascinating hub Judi. I have always wondered why this was, but didn't realise there was such a complex history to this subject. Well researched and well written, as always.

congrats on HOTD :)

Binoy from Delhi on September 24, 2012:

In India we drive on the left side and the driver sits on the right side.

We are now trained to operate the music systems with our left hand.

Thanks for highlighting the right hand side of driving.

Thomas Mulrooney from Burnley, Lancashire, UK on September 24, 2012:

Great hub, this is a topic I've always wondered about and it's interesting to see how our modern traditions actually go far back into history.

Just a quick note about this bit under your world map: 'Countries driving on the right shown blue, countries driving on the left shown red.' Surely this is the wrong way round? It shows the USA in red when they drive on the right, and it shows the UK in blue when we drive on the left.

Ian D Hetri from Papua New Guinea on September 24, 2012:

Interesting fact I have learn in this hub. Great work and keep up. regards


Penelope Hart from Rome, Italy on September 24, 2012:

So that's why! Thanks I always did wonder. Many thanks for making beautiful sense of it all. Well done on your Hub of The Day accolade!

ElleBee on September 23, 2012:

Very interesting I never knew all the reasons for driving on the right or left, or that left was initially more common. Interesting that the US Virgin Islands drives on the left whilst we drive on the right in the rest of the States (and assumably other territories though I've never been to any of them)!

Horatio Plot from Bedfordshire, England. on September 23, 2012:

Interesting stuff Judi. My parents lived in Argentina when they changed over in 1945. It went smooth as silk apparently.

By the way you fail to mention that Britain actually drives on the right side of the road, it's just that most other countries drive on the wrong side of the road. Great Hub

Judi Brown (author) from UK on September 19, 2012:

Hi Angie - we definitely do like our traditions (and I'm glad of it), but I do think we are just a tiny bit contrary (and I like that too). Happily, we won't be changing our driving habits for the foreseeable future (I'm still struggling with the metric system and it came in when I was at Infant School!).

Hi tillsontitan - it's fascinating to delve into everyday things and find out their history, especially when we don't usually give it any thought.

Thanks ladies for your comments, very much appreciated!

Mary Craig from New York on September 19, 2012:

I"ve always wondered why there was the left side/right side of driving. Never dreamed the left side would have initiated as far back as Ancient Rome and Greece! Of course Americans would come along and change things with their wagons....my wagon's bigger than your wagon...

Voted up, useful, and very interesting.

Angie Jardine from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ... on September 19, 2012:

Fascinating info. Judi … as usual.

I don’t think we are a contrary nation, I like to think we are carrying on a historic tradition right down from the Romans (wow!)

I sometimes think we are in too much of a hurry to ditch our past and slavishly copy other countries just because they think their ideas are superior.

Besides which who has 6 billion to spare? You won’t find that by feeling down the back of the sofa.

Judi Brown (author) from UK on September 18, 2012:

Hi suzettenaples - glad to have been able to share a little bit of British contrariness with you! You'll have to come and visit us and see left side driving in action.

Thanks very much for your comments, I appreciate them.

Suzette Walker from Taos, NM on September 18, 2012:

Very interesting and informative. In all my traveling, I never knew why the British and others rode on the left hand side of the highway. It does make sense when you explain it. Thanks for sharing this bit of knowledge with us!

Judi Brown (author) from UK on September 18, 2012:

Hi CrisSp - I guess in some countries there's just too much traffic and not enough road! I've not been to any of the places you mention (would like to though!). Glad you found this interesting and educational.

Thanks for taking the time to comment, I appreciate it.

CrisSp from Sky Is The Limit Adventure on September 18, 2012:

Very interesting and educational at the same time. I believed in some places like Mumbai (Bombay), Bangkok and Manila to name a few, driver's drive anywhere on the road. Lol, I'm being sarcastic, that is because they have no sense of discipline on the road, so much more for direction. It's true though and the traffic is all the time congested and the honking is terrible. The road markers/lines are useless, drivers can get in between. I know, been there (except in Mumbai); tested my driving skills-road rage. I almost failed but did make it somehow.

Good hub, as I said very educational--always good to know. Voted up and useful and interesting.

Judi Brown (author) from UK on September 18, 2012:

Hi James - it's one of those things that you just take for granted - hadn't given it too much thought myself! Interesting to find out about it though.

Thanks for commenting, I appreciate it.

James Kenny from Birmingham, England on September 18, 2012:

Interesting hub Judi. I never knew there was such complexity when deciding on what side of the road we should travel on, but then again I've never given it much thought. Thanks for enlightening me. Voted up etc.

Judi Brown (author) from UK on September 18, 2012:

Hi Pamela - I guessthese days, when self-defence isn't important, driving on the right, to keep your right hand free, does make sense!

Hi DDE - glad you enjoyed the history of right/left side driving.

Hi Ruchira - thanks for the votes, happy to hear you found this useful.

Hi Glimmer Twin Fan - when you read the history it all makes perfect sense, but as you say, it's hard to quickly change from one to the other.

Thanks for all the comments, very much appreciated!

Claudia Mitchell on September 18, 2012:

Interesting hub! It makes sense that people had to hold things in their right hands hence left side driving in case of battle. It is really hard to switch! Tried it when we were in Scotland and got many honks, but no accidents.

Ruchira from United States on September 18, 2012:

interesting concept...loved it.

thanks and voted up as useful.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on September 18, 2012:

Croatians drive on the Right interesting history voted up!!

Pamela N Red from Oklahoma on September 18, 2012:

I've always wondered about this but never knew the reason. Thanks for the lesson.

I always thought it made more sense to drive on the right side simply because more people are right handed and when driving a manual transmission vehicle it would be easier to operate the stick shift.

Also even in an automatic car the controls for the radio, heat/air and other buttons would be on the right so a right handed person would be more comfortable.

Judi Brown (author) from UK on September 18, 2012:

Hi Just History - we do tend to do our own thing - it's a miracle that decimalisation happened!

Hi Chrissie - delighted that you found this interesting.

Hi Mhatter99 - I learned to drive in the US, then came back to the UK, but I never knew the whole story behind the difference.

Hi kathleenkat - I remember when we switched to the metric system over here - I still prefer to think in Imperial weights and measures though.

Thanks to everyone for the comments, much appreciated, as always.

kathleenkat from Bellingham, WA on September 17, 2012:

I never thought of this! I always thought "hmm... Britain, we will switch to metric when you use our driving system." Strangely, I did not know there were other countrys besides Britain that drove on the left. I guess since right-handed roads are about as common as right-handed people now...

Martin Kloess from San Francisco on September 17, 2012:

I have never stopped to think about this. Thanks for going through the trouble of filling us in.

chrissieklinger from Pennsylvania on September 17, 2012:

Very interesting article, I learned a lot.

Just History from England on September 17, 2012:

Interesting hub Judi- I guess because we are an isand we can do our own thing. I do feel sorry for the Europeans who come over here and have to drive their Right hand drive cars on our left hand side roads! Voted up and interesting- pity there is not a category for thought provoking!

Judi Brown (author) from UK on September 17, 2012:

Hi Peter - oh dear, the shady side of the road could get crowded!

Thanks for commenting, good to hear from you.

Peter Geekie from Sittingbourne on September 17, 2012:

Just a minor comment - in Malta they tend to drive on the shady side of the road. Not much adherence to traffic laws here.

Kind regards Peter.

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