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Monday, May 12, 2014

DRIVING ON THE RIGHT - a Cranky re-run

This Monday cranky re-run is from May 2012

In the USA we drive on the right side of the road.  About 75% of the world drives on the right side of the road and 25% drives on the left side of the road.  Most British countries or countries that were formally colonies of the UK drive on the left side of the road.


In days gone by, riding on horseback, you would want to approach another rider to the left so you could hold the reins with your left hand and greet the other rider with your right hand (the traditional greeting hand) or hack off his head with your sword (traditionally held in the right hand.)


Most countries drive on the right side of the road.  Are they left handed countries?  No.  Apparently when travel moved to carriages, or especially heavy wagons, drivers sat on the left of the wagon so they could more effectively use the whip with their right hand.  Drivers preferred to drive on the right so they could see down the road.  This made head hacking more difficult.  Hey, you can’t have everything.

Countries had to decide on horse whipping (right side driving) or head hacking (left side driving.)  Most countries chose whipping over head-hacking.  

Countries in the UK stayed on the left because the UK is tradition driven.  Stiff upper lip, left hand on the whip.   

In today’s multinational economy, automobile companies have to make cars with steering on the left for 75% of the world and steering on the right for the other 25%.  This cannot be cost effective.  Driving while visiting a right side country from a left side country cannot be safe. 

Why don’t countries just come together and decide to all drive on the same side of the road?

Why don’t all countries decide to use the same weights and measure systems?


Politicians are always preaching fair trade and World peace.

SHIT…we can’t even agree to drive on the same side of the road.


  1. I agree Joe - everyone SHOULD drive on the left ;-)

  2. Well, I've driven on both sides (no, not in the same country!) and I only see a problem when switching sides with the same vehicle. Like in St. Thomas.
    Anyway, did you know that countries such as Austria and the Czech Republic (I think Hungary too, but I'd have to check) used to also drive on the left? After the "Anschluss" just before the war, they switched over to driving on the right, but the trains weren't switched until a couple years ago. NOW the trains also "drive" on the right. That caused a bit of confusion, now let me tell ya.
    So, if you see a pre war Czech automobile, it will be 'right hand drive'.
    Crazy useless trivia, but now you know.

  3. Sweden also used to drive on the left... In the countries that drive on the left -- like the UK and I believe Japan, the cost of changing to the right is prohibitive -- and also very complicated. My husband is quite comfortable going from a left to a right country -- as when we go to France. But almost always we have one scary occasion when 'oops' he finds himself on the wrong side of the road...

  4. I'm with Sarah. Mind you, I'm happy enough driving on the "wrong" side of the road on the continent.

  5. I've solved this problem by driving on BOTH sides of the road. Why use only half of it.

  6. I drive on the right side and that's all I care about. I'm not going to ever visit the countries that drive on the left so it's a mute issue for me. I'm just saying.

    Have a fabulous day. :)

  7. Eh, I think it makes the world a more interesting place when everyone does things a bit differently. Imagine if everyone did everything the same way...everywhere. How boring would that be? Why would we ever travel to other lands if they all spoke the same language, cooked the same foods, and drove on the same side of the rode as us?

  8. "Countries in the UK stayed on the left because the UK is tradition driven.

    Horse hockey! They're all secretly hoping that head-whacking will come back and they'll be prepared to be first in line ....

  9. We can't even agree on simple things like the way toilets flow. Come one. Seriously it will never happen lol

  10. The why is really interesting and quite amusing. I giggled my way through. I am an American expat in New Zealand, so I learned on one side and now drive on the other. We travel a lot and I find the transition is pretty seamless. The steering wheel is always towards the middle of the road. Visiting late from Silly Sunday.

  11. I suppose the folks who take their half out of the middle are comfortable driving in any country.

  12. I'd like to hook in to the "weights and measure systems." I think the U.S. should join the rest of the world and go to a system that is logical, consistent, and makes sense.

    Water freezes at 0º and boils at 100º. Much easier to remember than the numbers you have in Fahrenheit. When I came over here and asked my sister-in-law at what point water boiled, she didn't even know. And what's with the 12 inches that make up a foot, but the 16 ounces that make up a pound?

    Shaking my head... And then we can talk about all driving on the same side of the road. :-)

  13. I lived in Australia for a year and never even thought about driving. The thought was terrifying.

    Susie, currently living in the Mitten State.

  14. As a young man visiting New York city, Winston Churchill looked right and stepped off the curb to be hit by a car coming from the "wrong" side of the road. He barely survived or history might well have been changed. There's a moral there someplace....:)

  15. This reminds me of our American stubborness to not go metric like the rest of the world. It's just stupid!

  16. I think I'd have a hard time shifting gears with my left hand. Is that why God invented automatic transmissions? For American drivers visiting England?