September 17, 2010

DRIVING ON THE LEFT HAND SIDE OF THE ROAD

Around two-thirds of the world drives on the right hand side. So why does Britain drive on the left.

It is thought that road traffic did begin on the left and there is evidence to support this that dates back from Roman times. However, the first legal order for traffic to remain on the left was in 1756. When people were on horseback as the majority of people are right-handed it made sense to ride on the left, so as to meet their attacker on their strong side.

However, countries began changing to the right side, one myth suggesting that as Napoleon was left handed his troops had to march on the right and countries that Napoleon conquered then switched to the right.

The last European country to switch from the left to the right was Sweden in 1967. Although the EC would like for Britain to change, the cost and disruption to change everything would be detrimental.

Research has shown that countries that drive on the left have lower collision rates than those on the right. It is also safer for cyclists who mount on the left, as this then places them on the kerb as opposed to the road.

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