The majority of the countries in the world drive on the right side of the road – around 66.1% of all people live in right hand traffic countries. Right hand traffic simply means that when you’re driving a car, you drive next to the right side of the road instead of the left. Usually, drivers in right side countries sit on the left side of the car in order to have the best possible line of sight down the road.
Some countries drive on the left side of the road though – around 33.9% of people live in such countries. Australia, the Bahamas, South Africa, India, the United Kingdom, Japan, Jamaica, Nepal, Kenya and New Zealand are just a few of the countries that drive on the left side of the road.
The Geneva Convention of Road Traffic
If your country is one that has signed the Geneva Convention of Road Traffic, that means your country agreed that everyone should drive on the same side of the road. This is important because in the past, there used to be different rules for driving depending on the area you were driving in. This caused a lot of confusion and accidents, which is why it was so important to mandate which side of the street to drive on. For example, up until the 1920’s British Columbia and the Atlantic provinces drove on the left side of the road while the rest of the country was on the right side.
Crossing Borders, Switching Sides
Today, most countries have standardized which side of the road to drive on. However, sometimes there’s a problem when you have to switch sides of the road. For example, if you’re crossing from Thailand to Myanmar, Afghanistan to Pakistan or Sudan to Uganda, you have to switch sides. This can be difficult for drivers, especially if you’re not switching cars so the driver’s seat is on the correct side. Visitors from other countries provide another safety hazard as drivers, since they may forget which side of the road they should be driving on. As pedestrians, they may forget to look in the wrong direction before crossing the road.
Fewer Accidents in Left-Hand Traffic Countries
Although most countries drive on the right, studies suggest that countries that drive on the left have fewer accidents because most humans are right-eye dominant. When you drive on the left side of the road, you use your right eye more than your left eye, which allows you to see better than if you are primarily using your non dominant left eye.
About the author: Ryan Embly writes about cars and driving for the cheap car rental website CarRentalExpress.com.