Driving Tips

Why Japan And Other Countries Follow Right-Hand Driving?


Countries in the world follow two different traffic practices.

One hundred and sixty-five Countries and territories use the left side of the road or left-hand traffic (LHT) while the Rest 75 countries and territories use the right side of the road or right-hand traffic (RHT).

Automobiles in the LHT countries are right-hand drive, Which means the steering wheel is on the right side of the vehicles.

Vice versa, the vehicles in the RHT countries are left-hand drive.

Japan, the UK, New Zealand, Ireland, India, and many other countries follow the LHT rule, While most European countries and the United States follow thiRD rule.

Have you ever thought about the reason behind these two traffic rules? Could the whole world not follow just one rule?

The USA follows the RHT rule.

What Does History Say About Car Driving Rules?

There are scads of myths explaining the reason behind the world Dividing between these two traffic rules.

Right-hand driving could be the direct result of almost 90% of the world population being right-handed.

Many countries practicing right-hand driving are former British colonies.

There are interesting theories regarding why they used the left side of the road for riding horse carriages and vehicles.

Sword fighters and knights were still treading the paths of England during the days of English Feudalism.

Those right-handed warriors preferred staying on the left side of the Road to keep the right side free so that they could draw the sword to an approaching Enemy without facing any obstruction.

Also, staying on the right side was a safety Measure as it would protect them from bumping into another man’s scabbard, the thin Sword sheath used to be attached to the left side of a fighter’s body.

Another theory is that the rule came from horse mounting practices.

Horses are mounted from the left, which makes the process easier.

With the reins in the right hand, it was easier to ride the horse on the left side of the road.

Historical evidence suggests that left-hand driving was mostly the result of the opposition to British rule.

The great French emperor Napoléon Bonaparte enforced left-hand driving in several European countries after conquering them.

Great Britain was his political rival. So, it made sense that they did not follow suit.

The United States followed the Napoleonic driving rule in an attempt to deny its British roots.

For cars that drive on the left, the steering wheel is on the right side of the vehicles.

Why Does Japan Follow the Right-Hand Driving Rule?

Britain enforced the right-hand driving rule in all of its colonies, and most of them did not change that even after the end of colonialism.

For this reason, Most African and Indian subcontinent countries use right-hand driving.

But Japan was never under British rule or a part of the British colony.

Why did they choose the right-hand driving then? The truth is they chose Britain companies to make their railway.

For this reason, all Japanese vehicles are right-hand drive.

There are rules and laws in driving that we have come to accept and take for granted without thinking much about them, while many have very interesting backstories as to why these rules and laws were created and enforced.

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View Comments

  • I think the correct handling term for right hand drive is that when you use hand on the gears shifting, the positioning of your hand when changing gears, is the basis of the Hand Drive, if you use your left hand on the gear, that's the Left Hand Drive, if you use your Right Hand on tbe gears tha'ts the Right Hand Drive..its basic so Phils and other countries using right hand drive in shifting, should be Right Hand Drive.. not Left.

  • When you are driving on the left side of the road obviously you should be on the right side of the car so that you have a clear view on the approaching car on the opposite direction and a clear view on the car behind you and vice versa.

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