What European Countries Drive On The Right – It’s a question that surprises travelers, especially those thinking about renting a car. Which countries drive on the right, and which drive on the left? About two-thirds of the world’s population drive on the right side of the road. In total, 163 countries and regions have right-hand traffic, while vehicles use the left-hand drive in 76 countries.
Most of the countries that drive on the left are former British colonies, such as South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. Only four countries in Europe drive on the left and they are all islands. They include the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, Malta and Cyprus.
What European Countries Drive On The Right
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Economy and finance, politics and society, technology and media, health and environment, consumption, sports and others. Check out our upcoming releases. One of the biggest concerns for travelers abroad is which side of the road to take.
While most people know that the UK drives on the left and the US drives on the right, it can get a bit confusing after that.
Undoubtedly, it makes sense for a region to choose a direction and stick to it, to avoid the inevitable dangers and confusion between countries.
A good rule of thumb to remember is that Britain and most of the former British colonies – including India, Australia and South Africa – drive on the left, while continental Europe and the United States drive on the right. However, there are a few exceptions to this rule that may surprise you.
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Here is a specific guide for countries that drive on the left and those that stick to the right.
In total, there are 76 countries and territories that drive on the left; that is 35% of the world’s population.
Cars in the UK and Ireland are known to drive on the left side of the road, with the driver’s seat on the right side of the car.
Back then, it made sense to drive on the left because most people were (and still are) right-handed.
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By driving on the left and sitting on the right, the driver is free to use his strong arm to wave at oncoming traffic.
It also means that swordsmen can attack those who come with their strong hand if they need to.
For example, people’s right eyes are stronger than their left, and driving on the left side of the road means that their dominant eye is better suited to detect oncoming traffic.
With all this in mind, it may seem like driving on the left side of the road is safer than driving on the right.
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So why do 65% of the world’s population drive on the right side of the road? Then!
As you may know, the reason why Australia and its neighbors (including New Zealand, Christmas Island, Cocos Island and Norfolk Island) drive on the left is because they were British colonies.
The same applies to Nauru, Samoa, Papua New Guinea, Tonga and the Solomon Islands, which are not British colonies but may have been influenced by neighboring islands.
Indian countries (including India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan) also stick to the left side of the road while driving.
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It is entirely possible to drive from China to Hong Kong or vice versa, but there are some things you should know before attempting the journey.
While mainland China drives on the right side of the road, in the former British colony of Hong Kong, they drive on the left, which can make road trips confusing.
Unlike most of the regions in this list, Japan was not a British colony, and yet drivers in Japan drive on the left side of the road.
This tradition dates back to the Edo period (1603-1807), when the samurai ruled the land and, like their British counterparts, needed their strong arms to deal with oncoming enemies.
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Driving on the left in Japan did not become official, however, until the 1870s, when the first railroad was built.
When cars were introduced to Japan in the 20th century, it made sense that they also drove on the left.
Interestingly, Okinawa switched to right-hand drive after World War II, when they were under American rule.
Also, West Indians often drive on the left because they are influenced by the British.
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The US Virgin Islands (consisting of Saint Croix, Saint Thomas and Saint John, and the islands beyond) are a rare phenomenon. This is the only area under US jurisdiction where the law applies to driving on the left side of the road.
As you can imagine, this can make navigating the roads a bit difficult, whether you’re from the UK and drive on the left, or from the US and sit on the left.
Surprisingly, there is no real evidence (that we know of) that this mix of regulations leads to more accidents among the residents of the Virgin Islands.
Accidents among American immigrants, however, are common, likely in part due to confused driving laws. So be careful if you are planning to travel to the Virgin Islands!
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Kenya, South Africa, Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Malawi, Zambia, Namibia, Swaziland, Uganda and Tanzania drive on the left side of the road, which makes sense because they are all former British colonies.
Mozambique was colonized by the Portuguese, not the British, but it still drives on the left, probably because of its proximity to other left-hand driving countries.
Unlike other European countries, Malta and Cyprus are two countries that drive on the left side of the road.
A former British colony, Guyana is the only country in South America where English is the official language.
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Also, it is one of only two countries in the continent that drive on the left side of the road. Another nation, neighboring Suriname (a former Dutch colony), may have approved the law because of its proximity to Guyana.
According to some sources, the main reason why most countries today (163 countries and territories, in fact) drive on the right side of the road is because of someone on the left: Napoleon.
Legend has it that the king is more comfortable on the right side of the road, with his hands free and able to attack oncoming traffic.
Others claim that it is revolutionary to drive on the right, as the elite drive on the left.
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Whatever the reason, it is now customary in most of the world to drive on the right, with the driver’s seat on the left.
Although America was colonized by the British, they drive on the right side of the road instead of the left.
Some see this as a deliberate rebellion, which is seen as a way to cut all ties with Britain after independence.
It may also be due to the appearance of animal drivers in the 1700s (also known as quadsters), who transported crops in large wagons pulled by several horses.
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The driver sat on the left rear horse so that he could give his right hand to whip the other horses.
In fact, as I sit on the left side, I like oncoming traffic to pass on the left so that I can clearly see the oncoming traffic and look down to make sure that I keep the wheels of other cars in check.
Whatever the reason, driving on the right hand side is a long-standing tradition in the United States and its territories.
Central America, not including the aforementioned Caribbean islands, also drive on the right side of the road.
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In the past, most parts of Canada, which are now part of the Commonwealth, traveled on the left like they do in Great Britain.
At the same time, some Canadian territories that had influence in France, such as Montreal and Quebec, traveled on the right side of the road.
However, in the 1900s, the country established regulations to drive on the right to avoid accidents, and to make crossing the border with the United States easier and easier.
Whether you believe the story of Napoleon or not, today almost all of Europe drives on the right side of the road, with a few exceptions mentioned above (Britain, Ireland, Cyprus and Malta).
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Even Gibraltar, a British overseas territory in the south of Spain, drives on the right.
This standardization on a European scale took place in 1920 with the Treaty of Paris, which aimed to facilitate navigation between different European countries.
For a long time, the Swedes fought the decision to switch to the right side