ovelix
Posts: 606
Joined: Mon Aug 30, 1999 12:50 am

Why They Drive On The Left In Japan?

Sun Feb 09, 2003 8:34 am

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
 
CGK
Posts: 51
Joined: Thu Oct 03, 2002 2:17 pm

RE: Why They Drive On The Left In Japan?

Sun Feb 09, 2003 9:06 am

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.
 
bmi330
Posts: 1429
Joined: Sun Nov 11, 2001 9:04 am

RE: Why They Drive On The Left In Japan?

Sun Feb 09, 2003 9:10 am

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!
 
ovelix
Posts: 606
Joined: Mon Aug 30, 1999 12:50 am

RE: Why They Drive On The Left In Japan?

Sun Feb 09, 2003 9:17 am

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]
 
EGGD
Posts: 11880
Joined: Sat Feb 24, 2001 12:01 am

RE: Why They Drive On The Left In Japan?

Sun Feb 09, 2003 9:35 am

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....
 
bmi330
Posts: 1429
Joined: Sun Nov 11, 2001 9:04 am

RE: Why They Drive On The Left In Japan?

Sun Feb 09, 2003 9:37 am

EGGD ta for proving am right. See its cause the rest a the world are daftes.
 
aloges
Posts: 14842
Joined: Tue Jan 17, 2006 3:38 am

RE: Why They Drive On The Left In Japan?

Sun Feb 09, 2003 9:39 am

EGGD, might that be because of being used to it?! Or are there any surveys I'm not aware of?
Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.
 
NZ767
Posts: 1553
Joined: Sun Nov 18, 2001 9:17 am

RE: Why They Drive On The Left In Japan?

Sun Feb 09, 2003 9:47 am

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.
 
ph-kca
Posts: 121
Joined: Tue Oct 31, 2000 7:36 am

RE: Why They Drive On The Left In Japan?

Sun Feb 09, 2003 10:03 am

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.
 
buckfifty
Posts: 1278
Joined: Tue Oct 16, 2001 4:05 pm

RE: Why They Drive On The Left In Japan?

Sun Feb 09, 2003 10:09 am

That was quite an interesting article. Napoleon and the Americans conspiring against the Brits...
 
gotAirbus
Posts: 791
Joined: Fri May 18, 2001 10:02 am

RE: Why They Drive On The Left In Japan?

Sun Feb 09, 2003 10:34 am

South-East Asia.

Countries like Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand

(gotAirbus?)
(gotAIRBUS?) - (Got Commonality?) - (Have A Nice Flight!)
 
QANTASforever
Posts: 5794
Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2001 6:03 am

RE: Why They Drive On The Left In Japan?

Sun Feb 09, 2003 2:22 pm

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

QANTASforever
Fighting for the glory of the Australian Republic.
 
Guest

RE: Why They Drive On The Left In Japan?

Sun Feb 09, 2003 2:57 pm

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
 
Guest

RE: Why They Drive On The Left In Japan?

Sun Feb 09, 2003 2:59 pm

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]
 
Guest

RE: Why They Drive On The Left In Japan?

Sun Feb 09, 2003 3:08 pm

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]
 
Guest

RE: Why They Drive On The Left In Japan?

Sun Feb 09, 2003 3:17 pm

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

RE: Why They Drive On The Left In Japan?

Sun Feb 09, 2003 4:15 pm

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]
 
sebolino
Posts: 3495
Joined: Tue May 29, 2001 11:26 pm

RE: Why They Drive On The Left In Japan?

Mon Feb 10, 2003 7:47 am

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).
 
EGGD
Posts: 11880
Joined: Sat Feb 24, 2001 12:01 am

RE: Why They Drive On The Left In Japan?

Mon Feb 10, 2003 7:51 am

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...
 
ovelix
Posts: 606
Joined: Mon Aug 30, 1999 12:50 am

RE: Why They Drive On The Left In Japan?

Mon Feb 10, 2003 7:51 am

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
 
ovelix
Posts: 606
Joined: Mon Aug 30, 1999 12:50 am

RE: Why They Drive On The Left In Japan?

Mon Feb 10, 2003 8:00 am

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
 
aloges
Posts: 14842
Joined: Tue Jan 17, 2006 3:38 am

RE: Why They Drive On The Left In Japan?

Mon Feb 10, 2003 8:01 am

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]
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