Sometimes we do wonder why there are different sides of steering wheel in every country. Whether it’s LHT (left-hand traffic), a right-hand drive vehicle that drives on the left side of the road or the RHT (right-hand traffic), a left-hand drive vehicle that drives on the right side of the road.

So, the question is, why do some countries drive on the left and the others on the right? Well, let’s look at the history and origins of it.

Around 35% of the world are following the left-hand convention, most of them are British colonies. During the old English feudal and violent era, most people specifically right-handed swordsmen and knights preferred left handed convention. They prefer it so they can use their right hand to grab their weapon easily to a surging opponent. It is also to avoid clashing into another’s sheath or the thin cover of the sword that is attached on their belt placed on the left part of their body. Lastly, it is also to mount from the left side easily and disembark from the right side of the horse.

The right-hand convention started when transportation of crops in agricultural production became problematic. Us and Denmark’s solution was to pull the cart in multiple horses. The wagons at that time did not have any seat so majority of right handed folks decided to go the right-hand way. Going from right hand side of the road they can now easily monitor approaching vehicles, they can also ride the rearmost horse on the left, while the right hand is free to whip their horses.

When Napoleon conquered European countries, he started to enforce left-hand driving. His British foes refused to do it and thus maintained their right-hand driving. Britain have enforced the rule in all their colonies.

The Philippines however, was a left-hand driving nation during the occupation of the Americans. It changed to right-hand driving when the Japanese came, then it reverted to left-hand driving after the Japanese lost and left the Philippines.

Today, there are still around 50 countries that still into right-hand driving.


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