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Why They Drive On The Left In Japan?  
User currently offlineOvelix From Greece, joined Aug 1999, 639 posts, RR: 3
Posted (11 years 6 months 4 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 2249 times:

I know that in Commonwealth countries the traffic is on the left side of the road and the driver seat is on the right side of the car.

Why is that the same in Japan too? Japan was not a british colony. How did they adopt this habit? Any Japanese member here to help?

Also, do you know any other countries (except UK and former colonies) where they drive in the left side of the road? For example know of Burma (Birmania) where they drive on the right but the driver seat is on the right too.

Also I saw a picture of german troops just after occupation of Czech Republic changing the signs on the roads so the traffic would switch. Did they drive on the left side of the road in CR too?

Thank you very much for your answers.

Kostas

21 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineCGK From Indonesia, joined Oct 2002, 51 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (11 years 6 months 4 weeks 3 hours ago) and read 2218 times:

In Indonesia we drive on the left side of the road. It's not a former UK colonies. I used to think that most Asian countries drive on the left side.

User currently offlineBmi330 From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2001, 1450 posts, RR: 1
Reply 2, posted (11 years 6 months 4 weeks 3 hours ago) and read 2213 times:

Thats easy Japan like to drive on the proper side of the road like we in Briton do. We can not help it if everyone else cant drive on the proper side of the road!

User currently offlineOvelix From Greece, joined Aug 1999, 639 posts, RR: 3
Reply 3, posted (11 years 6 months 4 weeks 3 hours ago) and read 2210 times:

Not only in Indonesia but most of Africa (except Egypt) according to an excellent page I found about driving on the left

Did you know that Russia, Netherlands, Portugal, Austria-Hungary, even Sweden until the '60s were driving on the left? They all switched.

http://www.i18nguy.com/driver-side.html

Thanks

Kostas

[Edited 2003-02-09 01:18:03]

User currently offlineEGGD From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2001, 12443 posts, RR: 35
Reply 4, posted (11 years 6 months 4 weeks 3 hours ago) and read 2196 times:

Umm... because it makes sense to drive on the left hand side of the road.

Believe it or not, its easier for the majority (who are right handed) to drive in a right hand drive car, because when changing gear its much easier to hold the steering wheel with your stronger hand and changing gear with your weaker hand. Left handed people find it easier to drive in left hand drive cars, but they are the minority..

Its just for simplicity really, its easier to drive in a right hand drive car for most people....


User currently offlineBmi330 From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2001, 1450 posts, RR: 1
Reply 5, posted (11 years 6 months 4 weeks 3 hours ago) and read 2187 times:

EGGD ta for proving am right. See its cause the rest a the world are daftes.

User currently offlineAloges From Germany, joined Jan 2006, 8706 posts, RR: 43
Reply 6, posted (11 years 6 months 4 weeks 3 hours ago) and read 2184 times:

EGGD, might that be because of being used to it?! Or are there any surveys I'm not aware of?


Walk together, talk together all ye peoples of the earth. Then, and only then, shall ye have peace.
User currently offlineNZ767 From New Zealand, joined Nov 2001, 1620 posts, RR: 1
Reply 7, posted (11 years 6 months 4 weeks 3 hours ago) and read 2175 times:

Not all Commonwealth countries drive on the left Ovelix.
Canada for instance is right hand drive.

Here in NZ, we drive on the left and there have been quite a few accidents (the most recent one last week causing a fatality) where foreigners from right hand drive countries have gotten into difficulty or become confused on our highways and instinctively revert to driving on the right.


User currently offlinePH-KCA From Netherlands, joined Oct 2000, 124 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (11 years 6 months 4 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 2161 times:

Kostas:

Here in the Netherlands the traffic officially drives on the right hand side of the road since around 1800-1810, when the Netherlands still were occupied as part of Napoleons Empire. I think it was this Napoleon who introduced that traffic drives on the right hand side of the road.


User currently offlineBuckfifty From Canada, joined Oct 2001, 1316 posts, RR: 20
Reply 9, posted (11 years 6 months 4 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 2152 times:

That was quite an interesting article. Napoleon and the Americans conspiring against the Brits...

User currently offlineGotAirbus From Singapore, joined May 2001, 851 posts, RR: 1
Reply 10, posted (11 years 6 months 4 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 2138 times:

South-East Asia.

Countries like Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand

(gotAirbus?)



(gotAIRBUS?) - (Got Commonality?) - (Have A Nice Flight!)
User currently offlineQANTASforever From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 11, posted (11 years 6 months 3 weeks 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 2110 times:

The United States is a former British Colony. Why don't you guys drive on the left-hand side?

QANTASforever


User currently offlineMx5_boy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (11 years 6 months 3 weeks 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 2100 times:

Australia.. We drive on the right side of the road.. As in the *right* side to drive - the left hand side.

Strange though, our trains drive on the left hand side and are left hand drive.

What sort of drive cab are on American / Continental European trains?

Odd thought.

mb

slap a mime


User currently offlinePHX-LJU From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 13, posted (11 years 6 months 3 weeks 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 2101 times:

Interestingly, while Russia drives on the right (with the cars' steering wheels, of course, on the left), many cars in Siberia and the Russian Far East are left-side vehicles (with their steering wheels on the right) because they are second-hand imports from Japan. Makes for some scary driving...


QANTASforever, I found some info regarding your question at http://www.amphicars.com/acleft.htm:

"Britain's imperial expansion (all of the pink bits on old maps) spread the keep left rule far and wide. This included India, Australasia and much of Africa (Although many African countries changed to the right later when they became independent).

"France also had quite an empire after the revolutionary wars and the keep right rule spread through much of modern day Europe and to colonies such as Egypt. The connection with the USA is thought to be General Lafayette who recommended a keep right rule as part of the help that he gave the Americans in the build up to the war of Independence. The first reference to keep right in USA law is in a rule covering the Lancaster to Philadelphia turnpike in 1792."



EGGD wrote:

"Believe it or not, its easier for the majority (who are right handed) to drive in a right hand drive car, because when changing gear..."

Fortunately, most cars here in the US have automatic transmission, so this isn't an issue for the majority here.

[Edited 2003-02-09 07:03:22]

User currently offlinePHX-LJU From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (11 years 6 months 3 weeks 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 2092 times:

Here is another view on why the US drives on the right and why that is so significant (from http://www.2pass.co.uk/goodluck.htm):

"The drive-on-the-right policy was adopted by the USA, which was anxious to cast off all remaining links with its British colonial past.

"Once America drove on the right, left-side driving was ultimately doomed. If you wanted a good reliable vehicle, you bought American, for a period they only manufactured right-hand-drive cars.

"From then on many countries changed out of necessity."



[Edited 2003-02-09 07:12:01]

User currently offlinePHX-LJU From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 15, posted (11 years 6 months 3 weeks 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 2088 times:

Here is another interesting fact: In the US Virgin Islands, an American territory, they drive on the left.

User currently offlinePHX-LJU From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 16, posted (11 years 6 months 3 weeks 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 2078 times:

This is the best site I've found on the subject (it includes info about trains):

http://www.travel-library.com/general/driving/drive_which_side.html

...and here is a map from the site showing which countries drive where:





[Edited 2003-02-09 08:17:38]

User currently offlineSebolino From France, joined May 2001, 3681 posts, RR: 4
Reply 17, posted (11 years 6 months 3 weeks 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 2033 times:

Ovelix,

I don't know how it is in Continental Greece, but in Crete (Creta ?) they all drive on the emergency lane (!!). That's a good way to leave no chance to anybody in emergency. (That's true , no joke).


User currently offlineEGGD From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2001, 12443 posts, RR: 35
Reply 18, posted (11 years 6 months 3 weeks 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 2024 times:

Aloges - No survey, I've never been driven before. But its like holding a guitar, or snowboarding. Different ways for right and left handers. I feel playing a guitar with my left hand strumming much easier, and with snowboarding I have my right foot forward.

etc...


User currently offlineOvelix From Greece, joined Aug 1999, 639 posts, RR: 3
Reply 19, posted (11 years 6 months 3 weeks 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 2024 times:

Sebolino

That was because it was on tourist season. When we 're on our own we drive in EVERY lane of the road, that means on the opposite lane too  Smile

Kostas


User currently offlineOvelix From Greece, joined Aug 1999, 639 posts, RR: 3
Reply 20, posted (11 years 6 months 3 weeks 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 2019 times:

EGGD

I can assure you that every driver feels comfortable with the side he is driving on. I happened to drive a rented Ford Fiesta (manual transmission) in Oxford some years ago and it took me some time to get used to it but it was no problem as long as you keep attention.

In Greece, where it sunny all the time, you see drivers holding the wheel with the right hand, the left hand out of the open window. When they want to change gear they simply leave the wheel, change the gear and grab the wheel again. I gave a French couple the ride of their life last year when in Corfu they asked me to drive them to the town centre. It was May and I did the left hand out, right in and, man, they were frightened! Forgot to say that in this version of driving you NEVER use the indicators. But then again in Greece nobody uses the indicators.  Smile

Kostas


User currently offlineAloges From Germany, joined Jan 2006, 8706 posts, RR: 43
Reply 21, posted (11 years 6 months 3 weeks 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 2018 times:

Dan - OK... I've never played a guitar nor have I been snowboarding.  Big grin I asked because I can't even imagine to change gears with my left hand... Just seems veerrrryyy odd to me. Probably, changing them with the right hand seems just as odd to British drivers. But as for "holding the wheel with the strong hand": ummm... Should I better not tell that I frequently hold that exact wheel with two or three fingers only? You know, in those 30 km/h limit zones we have in Germany - said to be areas where children play, but counting those occasions is way too easy for a first grader. Any way, they like to put up cams there, so you just have to do 30 on a nice wide straight street with no obstacles at all. That's where I don't care which hand I use to hold the steering wheel; changing gears is of course unnecessary.

Kostas - good to see that you Greek fellas are so flexible! (referring to the lanes you drive in)

cheers, aloges

[Edited 2003-02-10 00:03:15]


Walk together, talk together all ye peoples of the earth. Then, and only then, shall ye have peace.
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