why do we drive on the left in england
Do we drive on the Left? About a quarter of the world drives on the left, and the countries that do are mostly old British colonies. also drive on the left. This strange quirk perplexes the rest of the world; however, there is a perfectly good reason. Up to the late 1700's, everybody travelled on the left side of the road because it's the sensible option for feudal, violent societies of mostly right-handed people. Jousting knights with their lances under their right arm naturally passed on each other's right, and if you passed a stranger on the road you walked on the left to ensure that your protective sword arm was between yourself and him. Revolutionary France, however, overturned this practice as part of its sweeping social rethink.
A change was carried out all over continental Europe by Napoleon. The reason it changed under Napoleon was
because he was left handed his armies had to march on the right so he could keep his sword arm between him and any opponent. From then on, any part of the world which was at some time part of the British Empire was thus left hand and any part colonised by the French was right hand. In America, the French colonised the southern states (Louisiana for instance) and the Canadian east coast (Quebec). The Dutch colonised New York (or New Amsterdam). The Spanish and Portugese colonised the southern Americas.
So The British were a minority in shaping the 'traffic'. 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. Today, the EC would like Britain to fall into line with the rest of Europe, but this is no longer possible. It would cost billions of pounds to change everything round.
The last European country to convert to driving on the right was Sweden in 1967. While everyone was getting used to the new system, they paid more attention and took more care, resulting in a reduction of the number of road accident casualties. Since September 2009 Samoa drives on the left instead of the right. The main reason for this is that they want to use right-hand-drive cars, for instance from Japan and New Zealand, which both drive on the left. Countries that drive on the LEFT No one likes to drive on the wrong side of the road so we have compiled a guide of which countries drive on the left and which drive on the right so you don t get caught out.
Most countries which were British colonies still drive on the left hand side of the road including huge land masses such as India, Australia and Southern Africa as well as the Caribbean. Europe generally drives on the right hand side apart from the United Kingdom, Ireland, Malta and Cyprus. Guyana (formerly a British colony) is the only country in South America to drive on the left. The other two thirds of the countries in the world drive on the right including the USA, China and Russia. Canada used to drive on the left but changed to the right to make border crossings with the USA more manageable. The reasons for these distinctions are historical.
British horseback riders used to ride on the left hand side of the road, thus keeping their right arm free to offer greetings to passersby or, if needs be, draw their sword. However, in The USA teamsters used to sit on the left hand horse while driving a wagon and therefore keep their right hand free for whipping the other horses. They decided to start driving on the right so that they could see the passing wheels of other wagons and avoid collisions. So wherever in the world you are driving in your rental car, make sure you know before you take to the roads what side of the road to drive on, and if you are not sure, make sure you ask at the desk!
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