why do we drive on the right side

It is, after all, the
best side of the road. But how did it become the crowd favorite of most drivers on the planet? In the latest installment of MinuteEarth, Henry Reich (creator of the similarly named MinutePhysics) takes a break from his typical mathematical antics to dig into some history.


Specifically, he s looking at why roughly one-in-three earthlings drives on the left side of the road, and why the rest of us Normals prefer to do so on the right в i. e. the dextral (and also the correct, just and honorable ) в side of the road. [ If you were traveling down the Appian Way in Roman times and you encountered a Roman Legion coming in the opposite direction you were required, by Roman law, to move to the right side of the road so that the Legion could pass on the left.


When, in the early 20th century, Europeans and Americans were developing their Rules of the Road for automobiles they adopted the old Roman rules of the road.


The reason Britain, Japan and, at one time, Sweden drive on the left is because they are maritime nations; their economy was based on the sea.


When these maritime nations were developing their Rules of the Road for automobiles in the early 20th century, they turned to Rules of Road that were already in place; Maritime Rules of the Road. In maritime law, when two ships pass each other on the open sea, they are required to pass starboard to starboard (or right side to right side).


Since, at the same time many nations, such as India, South Africa, Australia and even Hong Kong, were colonies of Great Britain; they also adapted the British driving laws based on Maritime law.