November 1, 2017

Why Do We Drive On The Left In The UK?

Every wondered why in some countries people drive on the right while we drive on the left hand side of the road?

It might surprise you to know that only around 35% of the world’s population drive on the left. As well as England, Scotland and Wales, other parts of the world where people drive on the left include Cyprus, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Pakistan, Singapore, South Africa, Thailand and Uganda.

Many years before cars were invented, everyone all across the world kept on the left hand side when travelling. The reason for this was dates back way before the 1700’s. The majority of people were, and still are, right-handed. Knights would hold their lances under their right arm and so naturally passed on one another’s right to allow attack. It therefore made sense for them to keep on the left when passing strangers as a protective measure.

It all began to change when Napoleon, who was left handed, reversed this practice as part of France’s social reorganisation. Any country that was part of the British Empire remained left handed, while those inhabited by the French were right handed.

The British played only a minor part in shaping the side of the road that Americans drive on today. This was because the French inhabited most of the southern states, the Dutch inhabited New York and the Spanish inhabited areas in South America.

Safe driving from Britannia!