Americans drive our cars on the right side of the road, unlike the British and some other countries around the world, who operate from the left side. Here are 5 or more reasons that we chose the right side, and not the side that most people in the world consider wrong.
First, the concept of driving on the right side goes way back to the Roman Empire where because nearly 90 percent of people are right-handed, it became common for the driver of the horse-drawn vehicle to hold the reins with the left hand, freeing up the right hand to operate a sword or weapon in case of danger.
Fast forward to Colonial America where in the new world, new American citizens wanted to differentiate from their former British oppressors. We wanted to be different, so people began to operate their horse-drawn carriages on the right. Similar to the Romans, holding the reins with the left hand, allowed our right-hand easy access to the rifle needed to ward off the occasional robbery.
Did you know that driving on the right side of the road became official here before anywhere else in the country? In 1804, New York State became the first state in the Union to make driving on the right side of the road a law. It would take another 60 years for the rest of the country to catch up, but by the Civil War, driving on the right side was the legal standard in America.
Another reason we drive on the right side might also be due to the fact that it's literally what most of the rest of the world was already doing. Nearly 70-percent of the world's nations drive on the right side of the road. Great Britain including countries like Australia and South Africa drive on the left side. Today, almost all of Europe drives on the right side of the road. Napoleon switched France from left to right and then was known to force any country he conquered to make the switch, as well.
The advent of the steering wheel also played a big role in much of the world adopting right-side driving. The Ford Motor Company put its steering wheel on the left side, the most efficient position for right-side driving, and because of the popularity of the Model T, most other automobile companies ultimately followed suit.
Canada is also an interesting case on the right side versus the left. British Columbia was left-side driving and much of the rest of the country operated from the right, as the former French colonies of Quebec and Ontario.
One more interesting note about different countries with different laws, there are nations around the world - mostly in Africa and South America, where border countries use different protocols. A perfect example is Thailand which operates from the left. It has three bordering countries, Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar, which drive on the right. Drivers have to make the switch as they cross the border into the neighboring nation.
Here's a list the countries that drive on the right, versus the left
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