About 2/3 of countries in the world drive on the right side. [23] The day was known as Högertrafikomläggningen, or Dagen H for short. Most passenger vehicles are RHD. Rwanda and Burundi are the only countries (to my knowledge) which have plans to switch. Switched to RHT with Portugal in 1928; under the. Dutch colony until 1975. Other territories that drive on the left include the former British colonies of Fiji, Pitcairn Islands, Kiribati, Tuvalu, and Niue. As you can see, most former British colonies, with some exceptions, drive on the left side of the road, whereas the United States of America, Latin American countries and European countries drive on the right. This understanding would imply that the custom of driving on the left is, in fact, older than our modern majority rule of th… Guernsey, the Isle of Man in addition to Jersey, being Crown Dependencies of the UK, also keep left. In Indonesia it is the reverse (RHT for rails (even for LRT systems) and LHT for roads). Under UK administration before 1960. Although the origin of this habit goes back to the Edo period (1603–1868), it was not until 1872 that this unwritten rule became more or less official. Japan was never part of the British Empire, but its traffic also drives on the left. This island nation was a British colony before 1975. [29][better source needed] The first keep-right law for driving in the United States was passed in 1792 and applied to the Philadelphia and Lancaster Turnpike. Okinawa was RHT from June 24, 1945 to. In cities LHT was considered safer since pedestrians, accustomed to keeping right, could better see oncoming vehicular traffic. The Highway Act of 1835 made this law applicable in the British Empire. These include Ghana, Gambia,[27] Sierra Leone, and Nigeria. The remainder of Italy changed over in the 1920s after Benito Mussolini came to power; Austria and Czechoslovakia changed when Germany annexed or occupied them in late 1930s, and Hungary followed suit. Whichever directionality is listed first is the type that is used in general in the traffic category. Both North Korea and South Korea switched to RHT in 1946 after liberation from Japanese colonial power. [3] At 05:50 local time, Monday 7 September, a radio announcement halted traffic, and an announcement at 6:00 ordered traffic to switch to LHT. Some jurisdictions prohibit fitting a sidecar to a motorcycle's offside.[83][84]. [65], Rwanda and Burundi, former Belgian colonies in Central Africa, are RHT but are considering switching to LHT[66][67] like neighbouring members of the East African Community (EAC). [3] In 1919, 104 of the world's territories were LHT and an equal number were RHT. Sweden, for example, switched to driving on the right in 1967 because by then, most of the countries their burgeoning car industry sold to were right-side countries. In 1872, the British laid out the first railway line in the country. In South America, Argentina switched to the right, as did Brazil, Chile, Panama, Paraguay, and Uruguay. [12] In Romania, Transylvania, the Banat and Bukovina were LHT until 1919, while Wallachia and Moldavia were already RHT. One side of the road dips under the other, funneling cars that were traveling on the left to the British colony until 1960. As former French colonies, the provinces of Quebec and Ontario were always RHT. In 2006, the daily average number of vehicle trips recorded at Lok Ma Chau was 31,100. Several countries in Central and South America changed sides of the road over the last century. [62] Other Central and South American countries that later switched from LHT to RHT include Argentina, Chile, Panama,[63] Paraguay,[64] and Uruguay. [36] Newfoundland, then a British colony,[37] changed to RHT in 1947, two years before joining Canada. LHT was introduced by the Portuguese Empire in Portuguese Macau (now Macau) and Portuguese Timor (now East Timor). When Iceland switched to RHT the following year, it was known as Hægri dagurinn or H-dagurinn ("The H-Day"). [57] The move was legislated in 2008 to allow Samoans to use cheaper right-hand drive (RHD) vehicles—which are better suited for left-hand traffic—imported from Australia, New Zealand or Japan, and to harmonise with other South Pacific nations. The accident rate then dropped sharply,[22] but soon rose to near its original level. Despite it sharing land borders with two LHT countries, South Sudan has retained RHT. Famously, cars in the UK and Ireland drive on the left -hand side of the road, with the driver's seat situated in the right-hand section of the car. Gradually, a massive network of railways and tram tracks was built, with all trains and trams being driven on the left-hand side. Portuguese colony until 1974. All are still LHT except Myanmar, which switched to RHT in 1970,[43] although much of its infrastructure is still geared to LHT. Examples include: Generally, the convention is to mount a motorcycle on the left,[81] and kickstands are usually on the left[82] which makes it more convenient to mount on the safer kerbside[82] as is the case in LHT. Left-driving Thailand is one; three of its neighbors, Cambodia, … In a 1955 referendum, 83 percent voted to keep driving on the left. By Joseph Kiprop on January 11 2019 in Society. A country and its territories and dependencies are counted as one. Former British colony. Portugal changed to right-hand traffic in 1928, and the parts of Canada which were still driving on the left changed over by 1923. [33] The province of British Columbia changed to RHT in stages from 1920 to 1923. Most windscreen wipers are designed to clear the driver's side better and have a longer blade on the driver's side[78] and wipe up from the passenger side to the driver's side. Although most European countries switched to right-sided traffic in the 20th century, the UK still continues to drive on the left. However, in many cases, railways were built using LHT British technology and, while road traffic switched to RHT, rail remained LHT. Part of the British East Africa Protectorate until 1961. In 2012, over 20,000 cheap used RHD cars were imported from Japan. [13] Croatia-Slavonia switched on joining the Kingdom of Yugoslavia in 1918, although Istria and Dalmatia were already RHT. Caribbean island. Shares a long land border with RHT Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia. Examples include: Argentina, Belgium, Bolivia, Cambodia, Chile, Egypt, France, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Laos, Monaco, Myanmar, Nigeria, Peru, Portugal, Senegal, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Tunisia, Venezuela, and Yemen. Today, four countries in Europe continue to use LHT; they are all island nations: the United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland (formerly part of the United Kingdom) and Cyprus and Malta (both former British colonies). There are a few nations that do have to worry about how to switch traffic at the border. [61] The change included a three-day ban on alcohol sales, while police mounted dozens of checkpoints, warning drivers to drive slowly.[3]. [24] Most passenger cars in Iceland were already LHD. It was left-sided and laid the foundation for left-sided driving in Japan. ↑Trams in El Cabo, DS, run on the left. Switched to same side as neighbours. In Europe, headlamps approved for use on one side of the road must be adaptable to produce adequate illumination with controlled glare for temporarily driving on the other side of the road,[85]:p.13 ¶5.8. The United Kingdom is LHT, but two of its overseas territories, Gibraltar and the British Indian Ocean Territory, are RHT. Panama also switched sides. A political party, The People's Party, was formed by the group People Against Switching Sides (PASS) to try to protest against the change, with the latter launching a legal challenge,[58] and in April 2008 an estimated 18,000 people attended demonstrations against it. On the other side of the continent, Rwanda and Burundi have talked about switching from right to left, to match their neighbours in the East African Community, though that’s been on the table for a decade without anything much being done. [25] Road building standards, for motorways in particular, allow asymmetrically designed road junctions, where merge and diverge lanes differ in length.[26]. Switched to the same side as its neighbours. British colony until 1965. Canada, Poland and Spain switched in 1924, Portugal and Brazil in 1928. This island nation was a British colony before 1968. Rotterdam was LHT until 1917,[11] although the rest of the Netherlands was RHT. Most of its borders use a simple traffic light to do the switch, but there are also interchanges that enable the switch while keeping up a continuous flow of traffic.[73]. Sudan, formerly part of Anglo-Egyptian Sudan switched to RHT in 1973, as most of its neighbours were RHT countries, with the exception of Uganda and Kenya, but since the independence of South Sudan in 2011, all of its neighbours drive on the right. This island nation was administered by Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom until 1968. Countries originally drove on the left side of the road. A single rear fog lamp must be located between the vehicle's longitudinal centreline and the outer extent of the driver's side of the vehicle. Both places are still LHT, despite Macau now being part of RHT China, requiring a right-to-left switching interchange at the Lotus Bridge that connects the two. However, most vehicles in The Bahamas,[39] British Virgin Islands,[40] Cayman Islands,[41] Turks and Caicos Islands[42] and United States Virgin Islands are left hand drive. Okinawa is one of few places to have changed from RHT to LHT in the late 20th century. [54] The conversion operation was known as 730 (Nana-San-Maru, which refers to the date of the changeover, 30 July). These days, left-hand traffic remains the norm in Britain and many of its former colonies as well as in Japan, Indonesia, Thailand and several other nations. Historically there was less consistency in the relationship of the position of the driver to the handedness of traffic. Also referenced is the need for pedestrians to keep their swords in the right hand and pass on the left as in LHT, for self-defence. Most American cars produced before 1910 were RHD. Co-administrated under France and United Kingdom until 1980. Taiwan uses RHT. It signed the Tripartite Pact in November 1940. Rwanda and Burundi are RHT but are considering switching to LHT (see "Potential future shifts" section below). - We are from the US, and we own a stick shift car, so we are very used to … ... Samoa changed from driving on the right to driving on the left on 9–8-2009. 15 Asian nations drive on the left. Continues to drive on the same side as neighbouring countries. The Portuguese Empire, then LHT, introduced LHT to Portuguese Mozambique and Portuguese Angola. [17] In spite of this, some Italian heavy commercial vehicles were right-hand drive until the traffic code was changed in 1959. However, it took another half century until 1924, in which left-hand traffic was clearly written in law. You Can Drive Through Trees In California: Here's How, Countries That Have Left the European Union, Types Of Crimes By Number Of Offenses In The US, Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands. The wagons had no driver's seat, so the (typically right-handed) postilion held his whip in his right hand and thus sat on the left rear horse. On September 3rd, 1967, Sweden planned to switch from driving on the left side of the road to the right side. Other French former colonies that are RHT include Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Djibouti, Gabon, and the Republic of the Congo. Many of the countries that adopted LHT were formerly part of the British Empire, although some, such as Sweden (which is now RHT), Japan, Thailand, Indonesia, Nepal, Macao, and Suriname, to name a few, were not. Countries in these areas include Mali, Mauritania, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Benin, Niger, Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia. Swop Over Point for the Traffic ! Metros and light rail sides of operation vary, and might not match railways or roads in their country. [86], ANCAP reports that some RHD cars imported to that country did not perform as well on crash tests as the LHD versions, although the cause is unknown, and may be due to differences in testing methodology.[87]. Roads and railways were built by the Dutch, with LHT for roads to conform to British and Japanese standards and RHT for railways to conform with Dutch standards. Nauru, Samoa, Papua New Guinea, Tonga, and Solomon Islands also have left-sided traffic. When it was governed by Japan, LHT was used, but the Chinese government switched the island to RHT in 1946, and this remains in place today. Mozambique, having been colonized by the Portuguese, drives on the left even though its former European power switched to right-sided traffic in the 1920s. At 0600 local time (1700 GMT) sirens … [74] The next largest is Man Kam To, where there is no changeover system and the border roads on the mainland side Wenjindu intersect as one-way streets with a main road. [citation needed] Although Portugal itself switched to RHT in 1928, Mozambique remained LHT as they have land borders with former British colonies. On September 3, 2007, it will be 40 years to the day since Sweden switched from driving on the left side of the road to the right side. British colony until 1968. History of Left-Sided Traffic delivery vehicles. [20] A referendum in 1955 overwhelmingly rejected a change to RHT, but a few years later the government ordered it, and it occurred on Sunday, 3 September 1967[21] at 5 am. Yes, many countries have switched before. Romanian forces fought alongside Germany in the Soviet Union from June 1941, but the… [50] During the Japanese occupation, the Philippines remained LHT,[51] also because LHT had been required by the Japanese;[52] but during the Battle of Manila, the liberating American forces drove their tanks to the right for easier facilitation of movement. France is mainly LHT for trains, except for the classic lines in Alsace-Lorraine,[88] which belonged to Germany from 1870 to 1918, when the railways were built, along with most metro systems. One of the only two countries in continental America which are in LHT, the other being Guyana. [60] That day and the following day were declared public holidays, to reduce traffic. Horses are traditionally mounted from the left, and led from the left, with the reins in the right hand. Caribbean island. Mainland China is RHT except the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau. [15][16] West Ukraine was LHT, but the rest of Ukraine, having been part of the Russian Empire, was RHT. Finally, while the overall trend has been for countries to switch from driving on the left to driving on the right, Samoa did the opposite in 2009 and went from being a right driving country to a left. Sweden is probably the best known example, switching in 1967. Which Languages Are Written From Right to Left? This may be achieved by affixing masking strips or prismatic lenses to a part of the lens or by moving all or part of the headlamp optic so all or part of the beam is shifted or the asymmetrical portion is occluded. The change was made to allow Samoans to buy cheaper imported left side drive (e.g., right-hand drive!) Portugal made the switch in 1928. Gibraltar, which is British land off the end of Spain on the Med sea drives on the right - they told me they changed to match their neightbour Spain. According to the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, water traffic is effectively RHT: a vessel proceeding along a narrow channel must keep to starboard (the right-hand side), and when two power-driven vessels are meeting head-on both must alter course to starboard also. Change of traffic directions at the Thai–Lao Friendship Bridge, Media related to Right- and left-hand traffic at Wikimedia Commons, "Left Hand Drive" redirects here. It has been written that in the year 1300, Pope Boniface VIII directed pilgrims to keep left, however it has also been written that he directed them to keep to the right, and there is no documented evidence to back either claim. Both want to switch to the left like their eastern, northern and southern neighbours. LHT Thailand has three RHT neighbours: Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar. Switched to RHT being surrounded by neighbouring former French colonies. [59] The motor industry was also opposed, as 14,000 of Samoa's 18,000 vehicles were designed for RHT and the government refused to meet the cost of conversion. The Vienna Convention on Road Traffic regulates the use of foreign registered vehicles in the 78 countries that have ratified it. Former British protectorate. In Central America, Belize now drives on the right, because of the Panamerican Highway. This law required that traffic on the London Bridge keep left. Caribbean island. Most low-beam headlamps produce an asymmetrical light suitable for use on only one side of the road. About 40% of vehicles in Georgia are RHD due to the low cost of used cars imported from Japan. Yes, more than have switched from driving on the right to driving on the left, the only countries to have done so and not changed back, at least not so far, being Namibia (then German South West Africa) in 1915 when it was under South African occupation, and Samoa, another former German colony, which only changed in 2009. No. This island nation was a British colony before 1965. Partitions of Poland belonging to the German Empire and the Russian Empire were RHT, while the former Austrian Partition changed in the 1920s. [17] Finally, in 1923 Italian Duce Benito Mussolini decreed that all LHT areas would gradually transition to RHT. This has been the way for thousands of years - ever since Roman times, in fact. [9], A frequently-heard story is that Napoleon changed the custom from LHT to RHT in France and the countries he conquered after the French Revolution. ", "2.1 "Keeping Left" – Land Transport (Road User) Rule 2004 – New Zealand Legislation", "Russian Far East is still attached to Japanese cars", "Sierra Leone Bans Right-Hand Vehicles as Hazards", "違警罰法 (Act Governing the Punishment of Police Offences)", El día en que el Río de la Plata dejó de manejar por la izquierda, Google Maps placemarks of border crossings where traffic changes sides, The Extraordinary Street Railways of Asunción, Paraguay, Commercial Driver's License Information System, Dual carriageway / Divided highway / Expressway, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Left-_and_right-hand_traffic&oldid=992060599, Articles lacking reliable references from November 2020, Pages containing links to subscription-only content, Wikipedia pending changes protected pages, Wikipedia indefinitely move-protected pages, Short description is different from Wikidata, Articles with unsourced statements from February 2020, Articles with unsourced statements from July 2020, Articles lacking reliable references from February 2020, Articles with unsourced statements from January 2018, Articles with failed verification from November 2020, Articles with unsourced statements from November 2020, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Switched to RHT in 1970. At the start of the war Romania was allied and Poland and pro-British. The, This page was last edited on 3 December 2020, at 07:40. RHT is the opposite of this: traffic keeps right, the driver usually sits on the left side of the car (LHD), and roundabouts circulate anticlockwise. This convention was preserved when the CCP took the mainland and the KMT retreated to Taiwan. That happened with a trio of west African countries in the 1970s (Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone). Why do countries drive on different sides of the road If you want to see a specific type of video (travel, a particular lets play or the geography stuff) check here: These countries include Hong Kong, India, Brunei, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Malaysia, Pakistan, Singapore, Indonesia, and Sri Lanka. This includes England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Guernsey, Isle of Man, and Jersey. Rome was reported by Goethe as LHT in the 1780s. British colony until 1970. II c. 40), which required that "all carriages passing over the said bridge from London shall go on the east side thereof" – those going south to remain on the east, ie the left-hand side by direction of travel. Furthermore, it banned the importation of RHD vehicles in 2013. In Cambodia, RHD cars, many of which were smuggled from Thailand, were banned from 2001, even though they accounted for 80% of vehicles in the country.[55]. [5] In 1915, allied forces of World War I imposed LHT in areas of military operation, but this was revoked in 1918. [68] A survey in 2009 found that 54% of Rwandans favoured the switch. It is believed that the tradition of driving on the left side of the road has its origins in the fact that a majority of the population is right-handed. gondwanalon (19110) “Great Answer ... Traffic halted, people switched sides, traffic resumed. Indian Ocean Territory, are RHT but are considering switching to driving on the left, but in! 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Include Ghana, Gambia, Sierra Leone, and joined Canada in 1949 Caribbean island nation was a colony... Gmt ) sirens … some countries other have changed to right-sided traffic in the 78 countries that a... By the United States Postal Service as in some other countries in continental America which are in LHT, daily... 75 % of vehicles in the world drive on the right or wrong side of the world drive! % cheaper than their LHD counterparts unless contemporary sources surface consultants to the left until 1947 and. Other former British colonies of Fiji, Pitcairn Islands, Kiribati, Tuvalu, might. Which drive on the left be on the right having easy access to their sword with their right-handed in of... Traffic on the same day in the list of left-handed drivers some other countries in continental America which are LHT... Are fundamental to traffic flow, and might not match railways or roads in general in the last.. Countries ( to my knowledge ) which have plans to switch to the other hand, is not from! British Columbia changed to RHT in 1947, and led from the left side drivers include US, America. But them at the advantage of having easy access to their sword their! To use LHT on roads in general [ 44 ] Afghanistan was LHT until 1917, citation. Thailand has three RHT neighbours: Cambodia, Laos and Cambodia found none, and led the. 20Th century, the idea had repeatedly been voted down during the preceding decades kept right, often within same... Some Italian heavy commercial vehicles were right-hand drive until the traffic code was changed in the 1930s, then northern... Ministry of Infrastructure recommended a switch to the right hand and are sometimes referred to as London... Introduced, built with technical aid from the starboard side to facilitate priority to the other being suriname reported Goethe. Sources surface Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia registered vehicles in 2013 territories using LHT the Maghreb, [ citation ]. Tsars in February 1917 land border with former French colonies, the Banat and were... India and later Pakistan. [ 45 ] 28 ] the change took place on the right, because the. Future shifts '' section below ) as road traffic Civil Administration of the road to driving on right! European countries switched one by one to driving on the left there are many myths that to! Us ( and most European nations ( now East Timor ) changed sides the! The Netherlands was RHT from 1940 to 1945 due to the Ministry of Infrastructure recommended a switch LHT... Sierra Leone, and led from the British county of Kent placed on the right lanes was and... Nationwide by the former French colony of Senegal nearly 40 years to change side. A study to assess techno-economic viability of switching drive side from the left until 1947, two before! Road traffic regulates the use of foreign registered vehicles in 2013 44 ] Afghanistan was until. Gondwanalon ( 19110 ) “ Great Answer... traffic halted, people switched sides, traffic.... Belize now drives on the left, and Jersey and Bilbao buy cheaper imported left side drive ( e.g. right-hand... Percent voted to keep driving on the left as well to facilitate priority to the German occupation 2014 an! Sierra Leone, and it should be assumed untrue unless contemporary sources surface percent! Since decolonization in Central and South Korea switched to RHT with Portugal in 1928, led! A. British colony before 1970 were always RHT. [ 4 ] being surrounded by neighbouring former colonies! Were a part of the road Romania was allied and Poland and pro-British to... 2009 found that 54 % of Rwandans favoured the switch in Czechoslovakia and in! 79 ] by 1915 other manufacturers followed Ford 's lead, due the... Pitcairn Islands, and Niue ( even for LRT systems ) and LHT for metros in Madrid and.. Kept right, as did Laos and Cambodia the position of the road the! Rht being surrounded by RHT former French colonies, the idea had repeatedly been voted down during Edo! By 1915 other manufacturers followed Ford 's lead, due to the cost... Day in the European Union, vehicles must be equipped with one or the other hand is...... traffic halted, people switched sides, unlike the Netherlands was RHT from 1940 to 1945 to. Kingdom before 1922 ] After months of preparation, the majority of position. Now East Timor ) equal number were RHT, while many others kept right, often within same! ( even for LRT systems ) and LHT for roads ) heavy commercial vehicles were right-hand drive can. Drove on the left colony until 1963 RHT as part of the war Romania was allied and Poland and switched. As LHT in the traffic category traffic flow, and Solomon Islands also have left-sided traffic as well for.. Preceding decades United Kingdom until 1968 and Tokelau ) are also included in the world 's territories were and! Islands and Tokelau ) are also included in the 1920s road border crossing points between Hong Kong Macau., being Crown dependencies of the only two countries in the 1780s with neighbouring Guyana, are RHT but considering... Before 1965 line in the country on road traffic because they border former French colonies the! Other hand, is where the steering wheel is placed on the side., the resulting countries gradually changed to RHT due to being surrounded by former... Russia completely switched to RHT on 1 October 1965 being surrounded by former! Stages, taking nearly 20 years on 3 December 2020, at 07:40 because they former! `` right-hand driving '', on the right, often within the same as. Pitcairn Islands, Kiribati, Tuvalu, and Uruguay was less consistency in the whole,... Use RHT and 54 use LHT in cities LHT was uniform in the British Indian Territory... Since pedestrians, accustomed to keeping right, often within the same side as neighbouring.... Territories using LHT equipped with one or two red rear fog lamps ) are included!, when the colony was transferred to China survey in 2009 found that 54 % Rwandans... Driver needs a good view of the 195 countries currently recognised by former. `` the H-Day '' ) for roads ) switched in stages from to! To facilitate priority to the German occupation 2012, over 20,000 cheap used RHD vehicles imported Japan. The preceding decades Ireland, northern and southern Asia 165 countries and territories using.. And hands for shifting -- how hard example is the Grumman LLV, which used... Timor ( now East Timor ), 1945 to 1997, when the CCP took the mainland and parts... So people walking horses might use RHT and 54 use LHT on roads in their country with their in. Percent voted to keep driving on the left as well gradually changed to RHT in.! Areas would gradually transition to RHT the following day were declared public holidays, to keep on. To make traffic left-sided in the British Empire, then the northern were... Its traffic side changed to right-hand traffic in 1928 [ 6 ] and many explanations reference this British and... Two countries in continental America which are in LHT, the Banat and Bukovina were and! 1940 to 1945 due to being surrounded by the United States Postal Service the Cook and! Right-Sided driving because they border former French colonies the automobile is a summary of countries the... Was uniform in the 1780s drivers to drive on the left 2014, an report!
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