Left-hand drive cars:verything you need to know
Why do we drive right-hand cars on the left of the road?
People were travelling on the left of the road in the UK long before the car was invented. Why? Because if you’re on the left, your right hand – your sword hand – is ready to do some defensive stabbing if needed. It could be lawless back then, after all. It’s the same reason that castle staircases spiral left as you go down; it’s easier to stab downwards with the right hand to defend your home.
In Roman times, carts were driven on the left of the road, and the empire’s soldiers marched on the left too. Rome’s influence meant that norm spread far and wide.
This history meant that driving horses and carriages on the left was enshrined into British law in the 19th century, and drivers sat on the right to make it easier to judge the distance to oncoming traffic.
In some countries, such as the USA, the use of large wagon trains in the 18th and 19th centuries meant using several pairs of horses, and the driver would often sit on the rear-left horse to keep his right whip hand free. This meant it was tricky to judge oncoming traffic, so many countries decided to adopt a keep right policy.
Several European countries switched from left to right after the invention of the car. Britain, which never really used large wagon trains due to narrow roads, has so far resisted such a change.