There’s an old, English schoolboy joke that goes – “If the French all drive on the wrong side of the road, how come they don’t have ACCIDENTS all the time?” Of course, the truth is – there IS no right or wrong side. EITHER side is fine, provided everybody sticks to the SAME side.
But which side is BEST? Most countries drive on the right – but far from ALL. Britain, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand and Malaysia are just some of those who chose the LEFT.
Sweden originally chose the left, but in order to fit in with Europe, changed to the right in the early Sixties. The change was made gradually. I’m kidding of course – the change was made overnight. They unbagged the new signs and traffic lights and bagged up the old ones.
But the thing is, these traditions have nothing to DO with cars. They pre-date the horseless carriage by centuries – in some cases, MILLENNIA. The reason most countries drive on the right is – the ROMANS.
Apparently, when chariots passed on the left, people (being mostly right-handed) got into sword fights and so a proclamation was passed… or maybe that’s just an urban myth. Either way, the Romans drove on the right – and the tradition spread.
However, for MODERN times, that tradition is WRONG. Car control layouts took some time to get standardised, but once they were, they ensured that the wheel would be in front of you, the pedals would be at your feet and the gear lever would be in the middle of the vehicle.
And it is that LAST fact that makes driving on the LEFT much, much BETTER.
You see, when driving on the left, the driver SITS on the RIGHT (if they didn’t, they couldn’t see past the vehicle in front – which is essential for safe overtaking). And this positions them with the gear lever on their LEFT. And THAT’S what’s important.
Think about it; most people are RIGHT-handed – thus possess more strength and accuracy in that hand. And when taking a hand OFF the steering wheel to change gear, they need that strength and accuracy to maintain MAXIMUM control with the hand which remains ON the wheel – while the simple act of changing gear should require a MINIMUM of strength and accuracy.
And the same is true for the BRAIN. Left hand – gears – subconscious (or SHOULD be – if you need to think CONSCIOUSLY about gear-changes, you shouldn’t BE driving). Right hand – steering – conscious.
Therefore, given that the majority of people are right handed, right-hand- drive is the only way to go. Left-handed people; if you want to drive – go and live in a left-hand-drive country!
(Of course, Americans – who HAVE to be different – have ALWAYS been left-hand-drive. But then, their cars have always had automatic gearboxes and power steering – thus while driving, they only use their left hand to hold the damn ROOF on!)