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Why Don't We All Drive on the Same Side of the Road?

Yesterday, the residents of Samoa began driving on the left side of the road instead of the right. This is the first major switch since the 1970s, when Ghana, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone made the change. Randy James of Time magazine has an article exploring how different nations came to use different sides of the road:

Theories differ, but there's no doubt Napoleon was a major influence. The French have used the right since at least the late 18th century (there's evidence of a Parisian "keep-right" law dating to 1794). Some say that before the French Revolution, aristocrats drove their carriages on the left, forcing the peasantry to the right. Amid the upheaval, fearful aristocrats sought to blend in with the proletariat by traveling on the right as well. Regardless of the origin, Napoleon brought right-hand traffic to the nations he conquered, including Russia, Switzerland and Germany. Hitler, in turn, ordered right-hand traffic in Czechoslovakia and Austria in the 1930s. Nations that escaped right-handed conquest, like Great Britain, preserved their left-handed tradition.


Link via Outside the Beltway

Image by flickr user multitrack used under creative commons license.

No no no. Samoa began driving on the "left-hand" side of the road.
They were driving on the right hand side - but changed mainly to match the rest of us in this part of the world. (less problems for car sales, tourists, immigrants etc)
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They started driving on the left side of the road mainly because they can now import cars from Australia and New-Zealand, Please fix this.
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the article says :
"One of the final moves to firmly standardize traffic directions in the U.S. occurred in the 20th century, when Henry Ford decided to mass-produce his cars with controls on the left (one reason, stated in a 1908 catalog: the convenience for passengers exiting directly onto the curb"

EH?
So, the supposed reason was that passengers could exit to the pavement. It's the same in Left-hand drive countries. Remember : everything is reversed, passenger seat side included, therefore the passenger always exits to the kerb (UK spelling there).

So, that's either hilarious early 20thC marketing, or a bit of bad modern journalism by Time.
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Correction Angstrom- In the US- right side driving was already in use from the late 1700's.
By the time Henry Ford and his cars came along there were still no rules on how to build cars. So where to put the steering wheel was entirely up to the ideas of the builders. His marketing-trick was exactly that, because other auto-makers could put the steering wheel in the centre or on the other side for arguments of luxury, fashion, exclusiveness or because the side of the steering wheel better matched the position of the clutch-lever and the spare-tire.
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2 billion people drive on the Left side,mostly due to India [and former British colonies]
Rest of the 4+ billion on the right.
I think we should just ride on the right in exchange for the 2 remaining Countries [including the US] to switch to Metric system.
How about it,hey? :)
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I heard it was because of back in the days of yore....when people traveled by horse around the countryside, they would pass on the left so that they could easily draw their swords and defend themselves from attack. The reason the WEST never did this was because by that time, it really wasn't about swords as much as guns by that time and since most are right handed you would want to pass on the right and draw your gun across your body.
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After a visit to Malaysia and sitting in a passenger seat of a car that is my usual driving seat I became disoriented when I arrived back in the States. Luckily a friend drove me most of the way home from the airport, because when I got in to drive I almost immediately veered to the left lane to drive. I still don't know what influenced that country to drive in the left lane, but after observing the numerous roudabouts and the number of bikes on the road, the Malaysians seem to have it under control.
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