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Why Dont The US And Canada Drive On The Left?  
User currently offlineAeroflot001 From Argentina, joined Oct 2009, 400 posts, RR: 0
Posted (4 years 9 months 3 weeks 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 6749 times:

Let me start of by saying that the whole subject between driving on the right and the left interests me a bit for some reason and how they have to make a strange bridge or Intersection on the border with countries that have different driving sides. I beleive that all (correct me if Im wrong) countries except Gibraltar and a few in Northern Africa drive on the left even the Falklands which are thousands of miles from a left driving country. What surprises me the most is that in Canada and the US we drive on the right and Canada really surprises me because they still have the British Monarchy in place (I dont know exactly how this stands politically). Gibraltar is very small and because of its border with spain it feels that its best for it to drive on the right. On the same token however the Virgin Islands drive on the left. Does canada have any territories that drive on the left? Thanks guys and I hope some light can be shed on the subject.

I found this a bit interesting from wikipedia (yes I know wikipedia  Silly)
Research in 1969 by J. J. Leeming showed countries driving on the left have a lower collision rate than countries driving on the right. It has been suggested this is partly because humans are more commonly right-eye dominant than left-eye dominant

It all makes sense now the country wanted to keep its population control methods going  duck  . On a serious note it really is sad how unsafe the roads are nowadays

[Edited 2009-11-08 19:38:18]

41 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineAirstud From United States of America, joined Nov 2000, 2656 posts, RR: 3
Reply 1, posted (4 years 9 months 3 weeks 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 6735 times:

As far as I know, most countries in the world drive on the right-hand side.

The exceptions are

UK
Ireland
Australia
New Zealand
South Africa & much (maybe all?) of sub-Saharan Africa

Japan


The US and Canada got their independence from Britain in 1776 and 1867 respectively; and the automobile didn't come round for a long time thereafter.

Whereas the African colonies remained under British rule well into the 20th century, during the rise and rise of the automobile. That's the explanation for why US and Canada's road systems developed without regard to the British one.

[Edited 2009-11-08 19:58:54]


Pancakes are delicious.
User currently offlineVikkyvik From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 9943 posts, RR: 26
Reply 2, posted (4 years 9 months 3 weeks 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 6734 times:
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Quoting Aeroflot001 (Thread starter):
I beleive that all (correct me if Im wrong) countries except Gibraltar and a few in Northern Africa drive on the left even the Falklands which are thousands of miles from a left driving country.

I'm not sure if this is the way you intended to word this. Because no, all countries except Gibraltar and a few in Northern Africa do NOT drive on the left.

To make it simple, this is why the US and Canada drive on the right:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Co...s_driving_on_the_left_or_right.svg

 Smile



"Two and a Half Men" was filmed in front of a live ostrich.
User currently offlineAjd1992 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (4 years 9 months 3 weeks 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 6727 times:

Malta drives on the left too, as well as a few Asian countries.

It doesn't really matter what side of the road you drive on as long as there isn't somebody coming the other way on your side of the road  Silly

Must be honest though, I'm English and I prefer being on the right rather than left. I hate driving in the UK because it just feels.... wrong. I've spent so long being on the right it feels more right than not being on the right  Wink


User currently offlineTLG From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 370 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (4 years 9 months 3 weeks 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 6723 times:



Quoting Airstud (Reply 1):
As far as I know, most countries in the world drive on the right-hand side.

The exceptions are


Iceland

Iceland drives on the right.

-TLG


User currently offlineTexan From New Zealand, joined Dec 2003, 4276 posts, RR: 52
Reply 5, posted (4 years 9 months 3 weeks 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 6719 times:



Quoting Airstud (Reply 1):
UK
Ireland
Iceland
Australia
New Zealand
South Africa & much (maybe all?) of sub-Saharan Africa

Japan

Don't forget the U.S. protectorate of the U.S. Virgin Islands. As well as St. Kitts & Nevis, Antigua, the British Virgin Islands, and a few other places in the Caribbean.

Texan



"I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library."
User currently offlineAirstud From United States of America, joined Nov 2000, 2656 posts, RR: 3
Reply 6, posted (4 years 9 months 3 weeks 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 6705 times:

Edited my post before you caught me... :P


Pancakes are delicious.
User currently offlineBaroque From Australia, joined Apr 2006, 15380 posts, RR: 59
Reply 7, posted (4 years 9 months 3 weeks 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 6700 times:

As I understand it, you mount a horse from its LHS. If Sir wishes to stay out of the mud you would have the horse on the LHS and have the servant wander out into the mud. As the horse was moored to the LHS, it then made sense to stay on that side of the road. There is an explanation of why the US changed sides related to poor roads, but no idea why the French did not follow the horse logic.

Explanation from a 1977 program on PBS so if a fiction, it is not a Aus fiction, but rather a US fiction. Heard the program while driving across S Dakota.


User currently offlineFlighty From United States of America, joined Apr 2007, 8488 posts, RR: 2
Reply 8, posted (4 years 9 months 3 weeks 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 6657 times:



Quoting Baroque (Reply 7):
you mount a horse from its LHS.

This is correct, with English riding at the very least.

Many terms we still use today come from stagecoach and sailing ship days. Stage length for example, in the airline industry, descends from the era of the stagecoach, going from "station" to "station."


User currently offlineEL-AL From Israel, joined Oct 2001, 1306 posts, RR: 5
Reply 9, posted (4 years 9 months 3 weeks 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 6634 times:

Not all areas rulled by Britain drive on the left; In the middle east, Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Sudan & Iraq all rulled by Britain in the past, and all drive on the right.

I have no Idea why Japan is on the left. Cyprus, at least the greek part, drive on the left too, I think.



"In our country, those who do not believe in miracles are irrational" - David Ben Gurion.
User currently offlineBaroque From Australia, joined Apr 2006, 15380 posts, RR: 59
Reply 10, posted (4 years 9 months 3 weeks 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 6598 times:



Quoting Flighty (Reply 8):
This is correct, with English riding at the very least.

Many terms we still use today come from stagecoach and sailing ship days. Stage length for example, in the airline industry, descends from the era of the stagecoach, going from "station" to "station."

Well FWIW, the explanation for the cross in the US, was that the roads had more branches and these tended to knock off the guy at the front LHS of the coaches - hard to believe that US roads were worse than UK roads in the 18th century but I guess they could have been!! So rather than move the guy on the coaches over to the RHS, they ran the coaches on the RHS and the rest, as they say, followed.

A bit like the Indonesian system, always described as the cars drive on the left and the trucks and buses on the right. On the old road from Jakarta to Bandung you quickly got the hang of how that worked!!!

Never have found anyone to tell me why Indonesia nominally drives on the LHS. Possibly explanations are Japanese influence - the Indonesian security system I understand still uses one set up in WWII by the Japanese of RT and RW police areas - or maybe still a hang over from Raffles and the Napoleonic wars.


User currently offlineStealthZ From Australia, joined Feb 2005, 5691 posts, RR: 44
Reply 11, posted (4 years 9 months 3 weeks 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 6555 times:
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Quoting Airstud (Reply 1):
The exceptions are

And also include India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Thailand, Malaysia and SIngapore.

Interestingly Samoa recently changed from driving on the right to driving on the left.

Cheers



If your camera sends text messages, that could explain why your photos are rubbish!
User currently offlineLTU932 From Germany, joined Jan 2006, 13864 posts, RR: 50
Reply 12, posted (4 years 9 months 3 weeks 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 6543 times:

Quoting Texan (Reply 5):
Quoting Airstud (Reply 1):
UK
Ireland
Iceland
Australia
New Zealand
South Africa & much (maybe all?) of sub-Saharan Africa

Japan

Don't forget the U.S. protectorate of the U.S. Virgin Islands. As well as St. Kitts & Nevis, Antigua, the British Virgin Islands, and a few other places in the Caribbean.

Texan

Add Samoa, Jamaica, Hong Kong, Cyprus (both in the Republic of Cyprus and in the Northern area) and Macau.

[Edited 2009-11-09 00:34:00]

User currently offlineHAWK21M From India, joined Jan 2001, 31679 posts, RR: 56
Reply 13, posted (4 years 9 months 3 weeks 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 6525 times:

Out here its Driving on the Left too.
Hence we have RH seat driven cars.
regds
MEL.



Think of the brighter side!
User currently offlineGordonsmall From UK - Scotland, joined Jun 2001, 2102 posts, RR: 21
Reply 14, posted (4 years 9 months 3 weeks 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 6521 times:



Quoting Aeroflot001 (Thread starter):
Why Dont The US And Canada Drive On The Left?

Because they fail to recognise the authority of the Queen!



Statistically, people who have had the most birthdays tend to live the longest.
User currently offlineArniePie From Belgium, joined Aug 2005, 1265 posts, RR: 1
Reply 15, posted (4 years 9 months 3 weeks 3 days ago) and read 6492 times:



Quoting EL-AL (Reply 9):
Cyprus, at least the greek part, drive on the left too, I think.

I call BS on this, from personal experience, I can safely say that the Greek drive both on the left and right side of the road, also on the middle of the road, over the sidewalk and basically everywhere else they can think of.

Same goes for China, Iran, Southern Italy and parts of Russia.



[edit post]
User currently onlineKiwiRob From New Zealand, joined Jun 2005, 7285 posts, RR: 5
Reply 16, posted (4 years 9 months 3 weeks 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 6444 times:



Quoting ArniePie (Reply 15):
parts of Russia.

I would say all of Russia. What's also interesting in Russia is that in the Russia Far East where they buy lots of used Japanese cars, they use right had drive cars on the right hand side of the road, stupid.


User currently offlineLewis From Greece, joined Jul 1999, 3629 posts, RR: 5
Reply 17, posted (4 years 9 months 3 weeks 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 6428 times:



Quoting ArniePie (Reply 15):
I call BS on this, from personal experience, I can safely say that the Greek drive both on the left and right side of the road, also on the middle of the road, over the sidewalk and basically everywhere else they can think of.

You are exagerating..... And we do not drive on the sidewalks, we just park there!!! Big grin


User currently onlineCXfirst From Norway, joined Jan 2007, 3059 posts, RR: 1
Reply 18, posted (4 years 9 months 3 weeks 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 6414 times:



Here is a map of countries driving on left and right sides of the roads.

Red is right.
Orange was left, but is right now.
Blue is left.
Purple was right, but is left now.
Green had varying rules inside the country, now is right.

Sweden changed their rules over one day. Here is a link to some information about that event.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dagen_H

-CXfirst



From Norway, live in Australia
User currently offlineMayor From United States of America, joined Mar 2008, 10395 posts, RR: 14
Reply 19, posted (4 years 9 months 3 weeks 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 6379 times:



Quoting Baroque (Reply 7):
Heard the program while driving across S Dakota.

On the right, I would hope!  Wink



"A committee is a group of the unprepared, appointed by the unwilling, to do the unnecessary"----Fred Allen
User currently offlineAero145 From Iceland, joined Jan 2005, 3071 posts, RR: 21
Reply 20, posted (4 years 9 months 3 weeks 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 6343 times:



Quoting TLG (Reply 4):
Iceland drives on the right.

But has driven on the left for a longer period of time:

In June 1904, the first car came to Iceland. In September 1968, the traffic was changed from LHD to RHD. That makes 64 years LHD and 41 years RHD. Which means that that although people drive on the right now, the LHD of Iceland is also important. And don’t forget the H-Day.  Silly

Quoting CXfirst (Reply 18):
Sweden changed their rules over one day.

And so did Iceland. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H-dagurinn


User currently offlineBraybuddy From Ireland, joined Aug 2004, 5680 posts, RR: 32
Reply 21, posted (4 years 9 months 3 weeks 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 6339 times:



Quoting CXfirst (Reply 18):
Sweden changed their rules over one day.

Would be kind of messy to do otherwise . . . . Big grin


User currently offlineBMI727 From United States of America, joined Feb 2009, 15735 posts, RR: 26
Reply 22, posted (4 years 9 months 3 weeks 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 6339 times:



Quoting Mayor (Reply 19):
On the right, I would hope

In South Dakota it doesn't really matter, since there is so little traffic.



Why do Aerospace Engineering students have to turn things in on time?
User currently offlineBaroque From Australia, joined Apr 2006, 15380 posts, RR: 59
Reply 23, posted (4 years 9 months 3 weeks 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 6330 times:



Quoting Mayor (Reply 19):
Quoting Baroque (Reply 7):
Heard the program while driving across S Dakota.

On the right, I would hope!

And in a 1970 Mercury Marquis - dark blue, correct colour for the Jayhawks.


User currently offlineAndz From South Africa, joined Feb 2004, 8451 posts, RR: 10
Reply 24, posted (4 years 9 months 3 weeks 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 6319 times:
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Quoting KiwiRob (Reply 16):
What's also interesting in Russia is that in the Russia Far East where they buy lots of used Japanese cars, they use right had drive cars on the right hand side of the road, stupid.

I'm watching Amazing Race right now, they are in some snowy part of eastern Russia and the taxis they are in are all old right hand drive cars.



After Monday and Tuesday even the calendar says WTF...
25 Post contains links LTU932 : Then how do you explain this? http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=862100
26 VC10 : So I was told, the reason for LHD and RHD is as follows In the UK a pistol holder was carried on the LH side of the horse , so if the pistol was drawn
27 Mortyman : Cook Islands Indonesia Malaysia Singapore Cyprus[Edited 2009-11-09 10:33:48]
28 Texan : In the U.S. Virgin Islands, the cars drive on the left side, but the steering columns are ALSO on the left side. Not a good combination. Texan
29 Post contains links and images ArniePie : Clearly photoshopped to clean things up. This is more like it
30 DocLightning : The version I heard was that if you are driving on the left and you need to draw your sword at the man coming at you (who will be on your right), you
31 JFKMan : The US wanted to be different than Britain? I don't know... Why is most of the world on the right? Maybe the British wanted to be different.
32 Pilotsmoe : That's because the Danish drove on the left in the past.
33 Post contains links Max550 : This sounds like a plausible reason, not sure how accurate it is, but interesting nonetheless. http://www.2pass.co.uk/goodluck.htm I've also noticed t
34 Gordonsmall : Indeed, though that doesn't necessarily mean anyone respects what little authority she actually has. I consider myself master in my own home, however
35 LTU932 : That's nothing. You should see how people drive in Costa Rica, that's even worse. BTW: Costa Rica has RHD and officially, no LHD cars are allowed unl
36 Shamrock321 : Malta drives on whatever side of the road it feel likes!
37 United Airline : Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand too.
38 Texan : I understand that, but it is still a potentially dangerous combination I'd be much happier with the steering column on the right. Texan
39 Tiger119 : - When I arrived in The Bahamas for "Holiday" I exited the airport terminal and got on a bus for a ride to the hotel where I was staying. The bus' st
40 Post contains links Signol : Here's a good article about this: http://users.telenet.be/worldstandards/driving%20on%20the%20left.htm Basically, about 1/3 of countries and 1/3 of to
41 Lewis : Well, they are still on the correct side, just doing the classic 1 normal lane + 1 emergency lane = 2 lanes!
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