Aeroflot001
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Why Dont The US And Canada Drive On The Left?

Mon Nov 09, 2009 3:34 am

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]
 
Airstud
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RE: Why Dont The US And Canada Drive On The Left?

Mon Nov 09, 2009 3:40 am

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]
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vikkyvik
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RE: Why Dont The US And Canada Drive On The Left?

Mon Nov 09, 2009 3:42 am



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
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ajd1992
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RE: Why Dont The US And Canada Drive On The Left?

Mon Nov 09, 2009 3:44 am

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
 
TLG
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RE: Why Dont The US And Canada Drive On The Left?

Mon Nov 09, 2009 3:56 am



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
 
texan
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RE: Why Dont The US And Canada Drive On The Left?

Mon Nov 09, 2009 3:59 am



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
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Airstud
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RE: Why Dont The US And Canada Drive On The Left?

Mon Nov 09, 2009 4:09 am

Edited my post before you caught me... :P
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baroque
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RE: Why Dont The US And Canada Drive On The Left?

Mon Nov 09, 2009 4:11 am

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.
 
Flighty
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RE: Why Dont The US And Canada Drive On The Left?

Mon Nov 09, 2009 4:49 am



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."
 
EL-AL
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RE: Why Dont The US And Canada Drive On The Left?

Mon Nov 09, 2009 5:03 am

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.
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baroque
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RE: Why Dont The US And Canada Drive On The Left?

Mon Nov 09, 2009 5:40 am



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.
 
Stealthz
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RE: Why Dont The US And Canada Drive On The Left?

Mon Nov 09, 2009 8:00 am



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.

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LTU932
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RE: Why Dont The US And Canada Drive On The Left?

Mon Nov 09, 2009 8:28 am

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]
 
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HAWK21M
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RE: Why Dont The US And Canada Drive On The Left?

Mon Nov 09, 2009 8:55 am

Out here its Driving on the Left too.
Hence we have RH seat driven cars.
regds
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gordonsmall
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RE: Why Dont The US And Canada Drive On The Left?

Mon Nov 09, 2009 8:58 am



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

Because they fail to recognise the authority of the Queen!
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Arniepie
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RE: Why Dont The US And Canada Drive On The Left?

Mon Nov 09, 2009 11:00 am



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]
 
Kiwirob
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RE: Why Dont The US And Canada Drive On The Left?

Mon Nov 09, 2009 1:26 pm



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.
 
lewis
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RE: Why Dont The US And Canada Drive On The Left?

Mon Nov 09, 2009 2:10 pm



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
 
CXfirst
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RE: Happy Confucius Day

Mon Nov 09, 2009 2:32 pm



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
 
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mayor
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RE: Why Dont The US And Canada Drive On The Left?

Mon Nov 09, 2009 3:17 pm



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

On the right, I would hope!  Wink
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aero145
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RE: Why Dont The US And Canada Drive On The Left?

Mon Nov 09, 2009 4:00 pm



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
 
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Braybuddy
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RE: Why Dont The US And Canada Drive On The Left?

Mon Nov 09, 2009 4:12 pm



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

Would be kind of messy to do otherwise . . . . Big grin
 
BMI727
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RE: Why Dont The US And Canada Drive On The Left?

Mon Nov 09, 2009 4:13 pm



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

In South Dakota it doesn't really matter, since there is so little traffic.
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baroque
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RE: Why Dont The US And Canada Drive On The Left?

Mon Nov 09, 2009 4:26 pm



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.
 
andz
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RE: Why Dont The US And Canada Drive On The Left?

Mon Nov 09, 2009 4:38 pm



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...
 
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LTU932
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RE: Why Dont The US And Canada Drive On The Left?

Mon Nov 09, 2009 6:01 pm



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.

Then how do you explain this?

http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=862100

 Wink
 
vc10
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RE: Why Dont The US And Canada Drive On The Left?

Mon Nov 09, 2009 6:22 pm

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 then it would be easy to shoot a highway man to the left or if you were on the left hand side of the road it gave you more time to shoot him if he came from the right

Now in France they preferred to defend them selves against highway men with a sword [more gallant than those Brits Big grin } then the sword would be worn on the left and drawn by your right hand and so it was easier to strike someone on your right side, so they rode on the right hand side of the road to be further away from a robber who came from their left

The USA when they became independent were so anti Brit and pro French that I am sure they adopted the French system, just for the hell of it.

Quoting Gordonsmall (Reply 14):
Because they fail to recognize the authority of the Queen!

Not sure now but is not the Queen still head of state in Canada

littlevc10
 
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Mortyman
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RE: Why Dont The US And Canada Drive On The Left?

Mon Nov 09, 2009 6:26 pm

Quoting Airstud (Reply 1):
The exceptions are

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

Japan

Cook Islands
Indonesia
Malaysia
Singapore
Cyprus

[Edited 2009-11-09 10:33:48]
 
texan
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RE: Why Dont The US And Canada Drive On The Left?

Mon Nov 09, 2009 6:27 pm



Quoting HAWK21M (Reply 13):
Out here its Driving on the Left too.

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
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Arniepie
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RE: Why Dont The US And Canada Drive On The Left?

Mon Nov 09, 2009 9:40 pm



Quoting LTU932 (Reply 25):
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.

Then how do you explain this?

http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=862100

Wink

Clearly photoshopped to clean things up.
This is more like it  Big grin
http://images.quickblogcast.com/51038-46219/Greece_5_250.jpg
[edit post]
 
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DocLightning
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RE: Why Dont The US And Canada Drive On The Left?

Mon Nov 09, 2009 9:41 pm



Quoting VC10 (Reply 26):

In the UK a pistol holder was carried on the LH side of the horse , so if the pistol was drawn then it would be easy to shoot a highway man to the left or if you were on the left hand side of the road it gave you more time to shoot him if he came from the right

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), your sword will be in your right hand and so you can get at him. That's why the British drove on the left.

The story goes that in the colonies, it was decided that we were a new nation in a new era of brotherhood and all that happy horsecrap. So we would drive on the right to show that we didn't need such tactics.

I can't vouch for accuracy.
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JFKMan
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RE: Why Dont The US And Canada Drive On The Left?

Mon Nov 09, 2009 9:43 pm

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.
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pilotsmoe
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RE: Why Dont The US And Canada Drive On The Left?

Mon Nov 09, 2009 9:51 pm



Quoting Texan (Reply 28):

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.

That's because the Danish drove on the left in the past.
 
max550
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RE: Why Dont The US And Canada Drive On The Left?

Mon Nov 09, 2009 9:54 pm

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 that just because a country drives on the left doesn't necessarily mean they walk on the left side of a sidewalk or hallway. Escalators also seem to vary, overall it seems to be about half run the same way as they do in the US while half run the opposite way. This is of course just my observations, I have no idea what the actual percentages would be.
 
gordonsmall
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RE: Why Dont The US And Canada Drive On The Left?

Mon Nov 09, 2009 10:30 pm



Quoting VC10 (Reply 26):
Not sure now but is not the Queen still head of state in Canada

Indeed, though that doesn't necessarily mean anyone respects what little authority she actually has.

I consider myself master in my own home, however try telling that to my 13 year old nephew who will gallantly defend his notion that I am simply there to serve him when he chooses to visit.  Wink

This is all academic however, as my comment was simply meant to stir the pot a bit and try desperately to detract from the ulitmately fact filled and rather clinical nature of the thread, however it appears it was all in vain as you were the only one who took the bait! Big grin
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LTU932
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RE: Why Dont The US And Canada Drive On The Left?

Mon Nov 09, 2009 11:50 pm



Quoting ArniePie (Reply 29):
Clearly photoshopped to clean things up.
This is more like it

That's nothing. You should see how people drive in Costa Rica, that's even worse.  Wink

BTW: Costa Rica has RHD and officially, no LHD cars are allowed unless they're re-fitted for RHD. So far, I have not seen a single LHD car in Costa Rica while in HAM, I did see quite a few LHD cars from the UK parked around.
 
shamrock321
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RE: Why Dont The US And Canada Drive On The Left?

Tue Nov 10, 2009 12:19 am

Malta drives on whatever side of the road it feel likes!
 
United Airline
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RE: Why Dont The US And Canada Drive On The Left?

Tue Nov 10, 2009 12:56 am



Quoting Airstud (Reply 1):
The exceptions are

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

Japan

Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand too.
 
texan
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RE: Why Dont The US And Canada Drive On The Left?

Tue Nov 10, 2009 2:40 am



Quoting Pilotsmoe (Reply 32):
Quoting Texan (Reply 28):

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.

That's because the Danish drove on the left in the past.

I understand that, but it is still a potentially dangerous combination  Wink I'd be much happier with the steering column on the right.

Texan
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Tiger119
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RE: Why Dont The US And Canada Drive On The Left?

Tue Nov 10, 2009 8:34 am



Quoting KiwiRob (Reply 16):
where they buy lots of used Japanese cars, they use right had drive cars on the right hand side of the road,



Quoting Texan (Reply 28):
n 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

- 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' steering wheel was on the left side of the bus. I thought that was weird because I thought people drove on the left side of the road in The Bahamas. I sat on the bench right behind the driver. She pulled out of the parking lot and started driving on the left side of the road and I immediately reached for my Diazepam! I think the lady sensed the bus was loaded with "unfamiliar" Americans and made an announcement that some vehicles in The Bahamas have left side steering wheels and some vehicles have right side steering wheels but EVERYONE drives on the left side of the roadway.  relieved 

Quoting VC10 (Reply 26):
Quoting Gordonsmall (Reply 14):
Because they fail to recognize the authority of the Queen!

Not sure now but is not the Queen still head of state in Canada

- She still is but I think Gordon was kidding!  rotfl 

David
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signol
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RE: Why Dont The US And Canada Drive On The Left?

Tue Nov 10, 2009 8:44 am

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 total population drive on the left - so about 2/3 drive on the right.

signol
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lewis
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RE: Why Dont The US And Canada Drive On The Left?

Tue Nov 10, 2009 9:07 am



Quoting ArniePie (Reply 29):

Clearly photoshopped to clean things up.
This is more like it Big grin

Well, they are still on the correct side, just doing the classic 1 normal lane + 1 emergency lane = 2 lanes!

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