In Mexico, we are used to using the left hand in our cars. It’s something we consider very normal. However, when we travel or watch movies in other parts of the world, we are often surprised by the fact that in some countries the steering wheel is located on the right side of the car. This peculiarity arouses our curiosity and makes us wonder why this happens. In fact, this is a practice that is repeated in about 75 countries around the world, and today we will explain the reasons behind this particular choice.
Tradition and historical legacy
The position of the steering wheel in a car has deep roots in the history and traditions of each country. In many countries, especially former British colonies such as the United Kingdom itself, Australia and New Zealand, the custom of right-hand driving has been adopted. This is largely due to British influence in the colonial era and continued even after these countries gained independence.
Driving on the left side
Historically, most people drove on the left side of the road. This practice dates back to ancient times and is based on several reasons, including security. With the steering wheel on the right, drivers have a better view of the road, making overtaking easier and reducing the risk of head-on collisions.
Local regulations and preferences
Traffic laws and regulations vary from country to country. In some places, authorities have chosen to maintain right-hand drive due to safety and traffic flow considerations. In addition, the cultural preference and convenience of having the steering wheel on that side influenced the choice to maintain this arrangement.
Switching from left-hand drive to right-hand drive or vice versa can be expensive and difficult. It includes modifying road infrastructure, changing traffic lights, and adapting the automobile industry to produce wheeled vehicles in the new mode. Therefore, in some countries, the high costs associated with such change may be a major deterrent.
Right-hand drive countries
Now that we’ve found out the reasons behind this strange thing, here’s a list of about 75 countries that have right-hand drive:
Africa: Botswana, Lesotho, Kenya, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha
north america: Bermuda
Central America and the Caribbean: Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Cayman Islands, Turks and Caicos Islands, British Virgin Islands, United States Virgin Islands, Jamaica, Montserrat, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago
south america: Guyana, Falkland Islands, Suriname
Asia: Bangladesh, Brunei, Bhutan, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Macau, Malaysia, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, British Indian Ocean Territory and East Timor
Europe: Akrotiri and Dhekelia, Cyprus, Bailiwick of Guernsey, Ireland, Isle of Man, Bailiwick of Jersey, Malta and the United Kingdom
Oceania: Australia, Fiji, Solomon Islands, Pitcairn Islands, Kiribati, Nauru, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Tonga
These countries, for various historical, cultural and practical reasons, maintain the custom of driving with the wheel on the right. Next time you watch a movie or travel to one of these places, you will better understand why the steering wheel of vehicles is on the right side, and you will be able to appreciate the diversity of traditions and customs that exist around the world. The world of motorsport.
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