Which Side Of The Car Is Right

Whether you’re driving on the right- or left-hand side of the road you might be surprised to learn that it’s actually the left side of your car that’s considered to be the “right” side. Here’s a look at the history of this interesting quirk and why the driver’s side is on the left in most countries today.

It’s all about horses

Believe it or not the reason why the driver’s side is on the left has everything to do with horses. Back in the days before cars most people got around on horseback. When riding a horse you would typically lead it with your right hand so you would want to keep the horse on your left-hand side when walking next to it on the road.

This meant that when two people were riding horses in opposite directions on the same road they would pass each other on the right-hand side. This system worked well for many years but as horses began to share the road with carts and carriages things started to get a bit more complicated.

The rise of the automobile

With the invention of the automobile came a new problem: It was now difficult to tell which direction a car was coming from. A car approaching from the left might be coming toward you or away from you and a car approaching from the right might be going in the same direction as you or the opposite direction.

To solve this problem countries began to adopt the rule that all vehicles must travel on the left-hand side of the road. This way it was easier to tell which direction a car was coming from and it also meant that drivers would pass each other on the right just as they had when they were on horseback.

Today most countries around the world have adopted this rule with a few notable exceptions such as the United States Canada and Japan. In these countries drivers travel on the right-hand side of the road.

Why the switch?

If the left-hand side is the “right” side then why do some countries drive on the right-hand side of the road? The answer has to do with the history of these countries.

The United States for example was originally a British colony and when the United States gained its independence it kept many of the same rules and regulations that were in place in Britain. This includes the rule that vehicles should travel on the left-hand side of the road.

Over time however some states began to switch to the right-hand side of the road. This was most likely because many of the early settlers in these states came from countries that were on the right-hand side of the road such as Germany and the Netherlands.

Today the United States is a mixture of left- and right-hand driving with states on the east coast generally driving on the left-hand side of the road and states on the west coast generally driving on the right-hand side.

The same is true for Canada which was also a British colony. In Canada the provinces on the east coast generally drive on the left-hand side of the road while the provinces on the west coast generally drive on the right.

Japan is another country with a mixture of left- and right-hand driving. The main island of Japan Honshu drives on the left-hand side of the road while the smaller islands of Okinawa and Hokkaido drive on the right.

A matter of convenience

For the most part whether a country drives on the left- or right-hand side of the road is a matter of convenience. It’s simply easier to pass someone on the right-hand side so most countries have adopted this rule.

There are a few exceptions of course such as the United States Canada and Japan but for the most part the rule is that the driver’s side is on the left. So next time you’re driving on the wrong side of the road just remember that you’re actually on the right side.

Is it better to get in and out of a car from the left or the right side?

The right side is better because it is closer to the sidewalk and curbs.

If you are driving in England which side of the road do you stay on?

The left side.

When making a right turn at a stop sign do you yield to oncoming traffic?

Yes.

When making a left turn at a stop sign do you yield to oncoming traffic?

No oncoming traffic should yield to you.

When making a left turn at a green light do you yield to oncoming traffic?

Yes.

When making a right turn at a green light do you yield to oncoming traffic?

No oncoming traffic should yield to you.

If there is a car stopped in front of you at a green light and you want to make a right turn can you go around the car?

No.

If there is a car stopped in front of you at a green light and you want to make a left turn can you go around the car?

Yes.

If you are in the left lane and want to make a right turn do you have to go all the way to the right to turn?

No you can turn from the left lane as long as it is safe.

If you are in the right lane and want to make a left turn do you have to go all the way to the left to turn?

Yes.

You are coming to an intersection with a stop sign.

There is a car stopped in front of you and another car coming from the left.

The car from the left starts to go before you do.

What should you do?

You should wait because the car on the left does not have the right of way.

You are coming to an intersection with a stop sign.

There is a car stopped in front of you and another car coming from the right.

The car from the right starts to go before you do.

What should you do?

You can go because you have the right of way.

You are coming to an intersection with a yield sign.

There is a car stopped in front of you and another car coming from the left.

The car from the left starts to go before you do.

What should you do?

You can go because yield signs don’t apply to the car on the right.

You are coming to an intersection with a yield sign.

There is a car stopped in front of you and another car coming from the right.

The car from the right starts to go before you do.

What should you do?

You should wait because the car on the right has the right of way.

If you are at a red light and want to turn right and there is no traffic coming can you turn?

Yes you can turn unless there is a sign that says no right turn on red.

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