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Left- and right-hand traffic

  (Redirected from Right- and left-hand traffic)

Countries by handedness of traffic, c. 2018
  Right-hand traffic
  Left-hand traffic
Change of traffic directions at the Thai–Lao Friendship Bridge

The terms right-hand traffic (RHT) and left-hand traffic (LHT) refer to the practice, in bidirectional traffic, to keep to the right side or to the left side of the road, respectively. This is so fundamental to traffic flow that it is sometimes referred to as the rule of the road.[1]

RHT is used in 163 countries and territories, with the remaining 76 countries and territories using LHT. Countries that use LHT account for about a sixth of the world's area and a quarter of its roads.[2] In 1919, 104 of the world's territories were LHT and an equal number were RHT. From 1919 to 1986, 34 of the LHT territories switched to RHT.[3]

Many of the countries with LHT were formerly part of the British Empire. In addition, Cyprus, Japan, Indonesia and other countries have retained the LHT tradition. Conversely, many of the countries with RHT were formerly part of the French colonial empire or, in Europe, were subject to French rule during the Napoleonic conquests.

For rail traffic, LHT predominates in Western Europe (except Spain and the Netherlands), Latin America, and in countries formerly in the British and French Empires, whereas North American and central and eastern European train services operate RHT.

According to the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, water traffic is RHT. For aircraft the US Federal Aviation Regulations suggest RHT principles, both in the air and on water.[4]

In healthy populations, traffic safety is thought to be the same regardless of handedness, although some researchers have speculated that LHT may be safer for ageing populations[5] since humans are more commonly right-eye dominant than left-eye dominant.[6]

Contents

HistoryEdit

 
Left-hand traffic in Vienna, Austria circa 1930.

Ancient Greek, Egyptian, and Roman troops kept to the left when marching.[7] In 1998, archaeologists found a well-preserved double track leading to a Roman quarry near Swindon, in southern England. The grooves in the road on the left side (viewed facing down the track away from the quarry) were much deeper than those on the right side, suggesting LHT, at least at this location, since carts would exit the quarry heavily loaded, and enter it empty.[8]

The first reference in English law to an order for LHT was in 1756, with regard to London Bridge.[9]

 
Hong Kong drives on the left.
 
Mainland China drives on the right.

Some historians, such as C. Northcote Parkinson, believed that ancient travellers on horseback or on foot generally kept to the left, since most people were right-handed. If two men riding on horseback were to start a fight, each would edge toward the left.[7] In the year 1300, Pope Boniface VIII directed pilgrims to keep left.[7]

In the late 1700s, traffic in the United States was RHT based on teamsters' use of large freight wagons pulled by several pairs of horses. The wagons had no driver's seat, so the (typically right-handed) postilion held his whip in his right hand and thus sat on the left rear horse. Seated on the left, the driver preferred that other wagons pass him on the left so that he could be sure to keep clear of the wheels of oncoming wagons.[10]

In France, traditionally foot traffic had kept right, while carriage traffic kept left. Following the French Revolution, all traffic kept right.[9] Following the Napoleonic Wars, the French imposed RHT on parts of Europe.[citation needed] During the colonial period, RHT was introduced by the French in New France, French West Africa, the Maghreb, French Indochina, the West Indies, French Guiana and the Réunion, among others.

Meanwhile, LHT was introduced by the British in parts of Canada (Atlantic Canada and British Columbia), Australia, New Zealand, the East Africa Protectorate (now Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda), British India, Rhodesia and the Cape Colony (now Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa), British Malaya (now Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore), British Guiana, and British Hong Kong. LHT was also introduced by the Portuguese Empire in Portuguese Macau, Colonial Brazil, Portuguese Timor, Portuguese Mozambique, and Portuguese Angola.

The first keep-right law for driving in the United States was passed in 1792 and applied to the Philadelphia and Lancaster Turnpike.[11] New York formalized RHT in 1804, New Jersey in 1813 and Massachusetts in 1821.[12]

In the early 1900s some countries including Canada, Spain, and Brazil had different rules in different parts of the country. During the 1900s many countries standardised within their jurisdictions, and changed from LHT to RHT, mostly to conform with regional custom. Currently nearly all countries use one side or the other throughout their entire territory. Most exceptions are due to historical considerations and/or involve islands with no road connection to the main part of a country. China is RHT except the Special Administrative Regions of China of Hong Kong and Macau. The United States is RHT except the United States Virgin Islands.[13] The United Kingdom is LHT, but its overseas territories of Gibraltar and British Indian Ocean Territory are RHT.

Changing sidesEdit

 
Traffic moves from left to right in Stockholm, Sweden, on 3 September 1967

EuropeEdit

Influential in Europe was the 1920 Paris Convention, which advised driving on the right-hand side of the road, in order to harmonise traffic across a continent with many borders. This was despite the fact that left-hand traffic was still widespread: in 1915 for example, LHT was introduced everywhere in the Austro-Hungarian Empire; however, three years later the Empire was split up into several countries, and they all changed eventually to RHT, notably including when Nazi Germany introduced RHT with almost immediate effect in Czechoslovakia in 1938–39.[14] [15]

Sweden was LHT from about 1734 to 1967,[16] despite having land borders with RHT countries, and approximately 90 percent of cars being left-hand drive (LHD) vehicles.[17] A referendum was held in 1955, with an overwhelming majority voting against a change to RHT. Nevertheless, some years later the government ordered a conversion, which took place at 5 am on Sunday, 3 September 1967. The accident rate dropped sharply after the change,[18] but soon rose back to near its original level.[19] The day was known as Dagen H ("H-Day"), the 'H' being for Högertrafik ("right traffic"). When Iceland switched the following year, it was known as H-dagurinn, again meaning "H-Day".[20]

In the late 1960s, the UK Department for Transport considered switching to RHT, but declared it unsafe and too costly for such a built-up nation.[21] Road building standards, for motorways in particular, allow asymmetrically designed road junctions, where merge and diverge lanes differ in length.[22]

Today, four countries in Europe continue to use left-hand traffic, all island nations: the UK, Cyprus, Ireland, and Malta.

Asia and the PacificEdit

Nationalist China adopted RHT in 1946. This convention was preserved when the CCP took the mainland and the KMT retreated to Taiwan. Hong Kong and Macau continue to be LHT.

Both North Korea and South Korea switched to RHT in September 1945 after liberation from Japan which was defeated by the Allies, and surrendered.

Myanmar switched to RHT in 1970.[23]

Samoa, a former German colony, had been RHT for more than a century. It switched to LHT in 2009,[24] being the first territory in almost 30 years to switch.[25] The move was legislated in 2008 to allow Samoans to use cheaper right-hand drive (RHD) vehicles--which are better suited for left-hand traffic--imported from Australia, New Zealand or Japan, and to harmonise with other South Pacific nations. A political party, The People's Party, was formed to try to protest against the change, a protest group which launched a legal challenge,[26] and an estimated 18,000 people attending demonstrations against it.[27] The motor industry was also opposed, as 14,000 of Samoa's 18,000 vehicles are designed for RHT and the government has refused to meet the cost of conversion.[25] After months of preparation, the switch from right to left happened in an atmosphere of national celebration. There were no reported incidents.[2] At 05:50 local time, Monday 7 September, a radio announcement halted traffic, and an announcement at 6:00 ordered traffic to switch to LHT.[24] The change coincided with more restrictive enforcement of speeding and seat-belt laws.[28] That day and the following day were declared public holidays, to reduce traffic.[29] The change included a three-day ban on alcohol sales, while police mounted dozens of checkpoints, warning drivers to drive slowly.[2]

The Philippines was mostly LHT during its Spanish[30] and American colonial periods,[31][32] as well as during the Commonwealth era.[33] During the Japanese occupation the Philippines remained LHT,[34] also because LHT had been required by the Japanese;[35] but during the Battle of Manila the liberating American forces drove their tanks to the right for easier facilitation of movement. RHT was formally finalised by Executive Order No. 34 signed by President Sergio Osmeña on 10 March 1945.[36]

AfricaEdit

A number of non-contiguous former British colonies in West Africa originally drove LHT and switched to RHT in the early 1970s to match the surrounding countries. Sierra Leone switched to RHT in 1971, Nigeria in 1972 and Ghana in 1974. Before this period The Gambia, a country entirely contained within RHT Senegal, had officially switched to RHT in 1965.[37]

Rwanda, a former Belgian colony in central Africa, is RHT but is considering switching to LHT, to bring the country in line with other members of the East African Community (EAC).[38] A survey, carried out in 2009, indicated that 54% of Rwandans were in favour of the switch. Reasons cited were the perceived lower costs of RHD vehicles as opposed to LHD versions of the same model, easier maintenance and the political benefit of harmonisation of traffic regulations with other EAC countries. The same survey also indicated that RHD cars are 16 to 49 per cent cheaper than their LHD equivalents.[39] In 2014 an internal report from consultants to the Ministry of Infrastructure recommended a switch to LHT.[40] In 2015, the ban on RHD vehicles was lifted; RHD trucks from neighbouring countries cost $1000 less than LHD models imported from Europe.[41][42]

SafetyEdit

In one study, researchers concluded that left-hand traffic may be safer for elderly drivers,[43] since humans are more commonly right-eye dominant than left-eye dominant.[44] Comparing accident statistics between countries operating either LHT or RHT, Leeming concluded that LHT is superior.[45] However, Watson has criticised the small sample size and dismisses the notion.[3]

Changing sides at bordersEdit

 
A road sign in the British county of Kent placed on the right-hand side of the road.
 
Border between Sweden and Norway in 1934

Although many LHT jurisdictions are on islands, there are cases where vehicles may be driven from LHT across a border into a RHT area. Such borders are mostly located in Africa and southern Asia. The Vienna Convention on Road Traffic regulates the use of foreign registered vehicles in the 74 countries that have ratified it.

LHT Thailand has three RHT neighbors: Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar. Most of its borders use a simple traffic light to do the switch, but there are also interchanges which enable the switch while keeping up a continuous flow of traffic.[46]

There are four road border crossing points between Hong Kong and Mainland China. In 2006, the daily average number of vehicle trips recorded at Lok Ma Chau was 31,100.[47] The next largest is Man Kam To, where there is no changeover system and the border roads on the mainland side Wenjindu intersect as one-way streets with a main road.

The Takutu River Bridge (which links LHT Guyana and RHT Brazil[48]) is the only border in the Americas where traffic changes sides.

Although the United Kingdom is separated from Continental Europe by the English Channel, the level of cross-Channel traffic is very high; the Channel Tunnel alone carries 3.5 million vehicles per year, by rail, between the UK and France.

Road vehicle configurationsEdit

Driver seating positionEdit

 
Bolivia is RHT, with the exception of Yungas Road which is LHT to help drivers see their outer wheel.

In RHT jurisdictions, vehicles are configured with LHD, with the driver sitting on the left side. In LHT jurisdictions, the reverse is true. The driver's side, the side closest to the centre of the road, is sometimes called the offside, while the passenger side, the side closest to the side of the road, is sometimes called the nearside.[49]

Historically there was less consistency in the relationship of the position of the driver to the handedness of traffic. Most American cars produced before 1910 were RHD.[11] In 1908 Henry Ford standardised the Model T as LHD in RHT America,[11] arguing that with RHD and RHT, the passenger was obliged to "get out on the street side and walk around the car" and that with steering from the left, the driver "is able to see even the wheels of the other car and easily avoids danger."[50] By 1915 other manufacturers followed Ford's lead, due to the popularity of the Model T.[11]

In specialised cases, the driver will sit on the nearside, or curbside. Examples include:

  • Where the driver needs a good view of the nearside, e.g. street sweepers, or vehicles driven along unstable road edges.[51]
  • Where it is more convenient for the driver to be on the nearside, e.g. delivery vehicles. The Grumman LLV postal delivery truck is widely used with RHD configurations in RHT North America. Some Unimogs are designed to switch between LHD and RHD to permit operators to work on the more convenient side of the truck.

Generally, the convention is to mount a motorcycle on the left,[52] and kickstands are usually on the left[53] which makes it more convenient to mount on the safer kerbside[53] as is the case in LHT. Some jurisdictions prohibit fitting a sidecar to a motorcycle's offside.[54][55]

Headlamps and other lighting equipmentEdit

 
Bird's-eye view of low beam light pattern for RH traffic, with long seeing range on the right and short cutoff on the left so oncoming drivers are not dazzled.

Most low-beam headlamps produce an asymmetrical light suitable for use on only one side of the road. Low beam headlamps in LHT jurisdictions throw most of their light forward-leftward; those for RHT throw most of their light forward-rightward, thus illuminating obstacles and road signs while minimising glare for oncoming traffic.

In Europe, headlamps approved for use on one side of the road must be adaptable to produce adequate illumination with controlled glare for temporarily driving on the other side of the road,[56]:p.13 ¶5.8. This may be achieved by affixing masking strips or prismatic lenses to a part of the lens or by moving all or part of the headlamp optic so all or part of the beam is shifted or the asymmetrical portion is occluded.[56]:p.13 ¶5.8.1 Some varieties of the projector-type headlamp can be fully adjusted to produce a proper LHT or RHT beam by shifting a lever or other movable element in or on the lamp assembly.[56]:p.12 ¶5.4 Some vehicles adjust the headlamps automatically when the car's GPS detects that the vehicle has moved from LHT to RHT and vice versa.[citation needed]

 
Headlamp sold in Sweden not long before Dagen H change from left- to right-hand traffic. Opaque decal blocks lens portion that would provide low beam upkick to the right, and bears warning "Not to be removed before 3 September 1967".

Because blackout strips and adhesive prismatic lenses reduce the safety performance of the headlamps, most countries require all vehicles registered or used on a permanent or semi-permanent basis within the country to be equipped with headlamps designed for the correct traffic-handedness.[citation needed]

Without sidecars attached, motorcycles, motor scooters, mopeds, and bicycles are almost symmetric with their handlebars in the centre. However, motorcycles are often equipped with automotive-type asymmetrical-beam headlamps that likewise require adjustments or replacement when brought into a country with opposite traffic-handedness.[citation needed]

Rear fog lampsEdit

In the European Union, vehicles must be equipped with one or two red rear fog lamps. A single rear fog lamp must be located between the vehicle's longitudinal centreline and the outer extent of the driver's side of the vehicle.[57]

Crash testing differencesEdit

An Australian news source reports that some RHD cars imported to that country didn't perform as well on crash tests as the LHD versions, although the cause is unknown, and may be due to differences in testing methodology.[58]

Worldwide distribution by countryEdit

Of the 194 countries currently recognised by the United Nations (and the unrecognised Palestine), 140 use RHT and 54 use LHT. A country and its territories and dependencies is counted once.

Country Road traffic Road switched sides Multi-track rail traffic generally Notes
Afghanistan RHT RHT/LHT Was LHT until the 1950s, in line with neighbouring British India and later Pakistan.[59]
Albania RHT[60] RHT
Algeria RHT[60] RHT
Andorra RHT[60]
Angola RHT[60] 1928
Antigua and Barbuda LHT[60] Former British colony.
Argentina RHT 1945

10 June

LHT The anniversary on 10 June is still observed each year as Día de la Seguridad Vial (road safety day).[61]
The Premetro and Metrotranvía Mendoza use RHT.
Armenia RHT[60] RHT
Australia LHT[62] LHT Commonwealth. Includes Christmas Island, Cocos Islands, Norfolk Island
Austria RHT 1921–1938 RHT[63] Originally LHT, like most of former Austria-Hungary. Switched sides in 1921 in Vorarlberg, 1930 in North Tyrol, 1935 in Carinthia and East Tyrol, and in 1938 in the rest of the country.
Azerbaijan RHT[60] RHT
Bahamas LHT[60] In Bahamas LHD vehicles are common due to the import of used cars from the United States.[64][65]
Bahrain RHT 1967 Former British protectorate. Switched to same side as neighbours.[66]
Bangladesh LHT[60] LHT
Barbados LHT
Belgium RHT[60] 1899 LHT The Brussels Metro is nominally RHT, with LHT on the circle line west of Halle Gate. This was done to enable unidirectional vehicles to use island platforms.
Belarus RHT[60] RHT
Belize RHT 1961[1] Former British colony. Switched to same side as neighbours.
Benin RHT[60]
Bhutan LHT[60] Under British protection before 1949.
Bolivia RHT[60]
Bosnia and Herzegovina RHT[60] 1918 RHT[67] Switched sides after the collapse of Austria-Hungary.
Botswana LHT[60]
Brazil RHT 1928[60] RHT A Portuguese colony until the early 19th century as LHT and retained it at least partially following independence, switched some states still on LHT to RHT in 1928, the same year as Portugal.[68][69] While some areas in present-day Brazil formerly belonged to Bolivia were already in RHT.
Brunei LHT[60]
Bulgaria RHT[60] RHT
Burkina Faso RHT[60]
Burundi RHT Considering switching to LHT[70] in line with neighbours Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda.
Cambodia RHT LHT RHT implemented while part of French Indochina. RHD cars, many of which were smuggled from Thailand, were banned from 2001, even though they accounted for 80% of vehicles in the country.[71]
Cameroon RHT[60] 1961
Canada RHT 1920s RHT Territories now in Canada have always been RHT, except British Columbia, which changed to RHT in stages from 1920 to 1923,[72][73] and New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island which changed in 1922, 1923, and 1924 respectively.[74] Newfoundland and Labrador changed to RHT in 1947 while still a dominion of the British Empire, two years before joining Canada.[75]
Cape Verde RHT[60] 1928
Central African Republic RHT[60]
Chad RHT[60]
Chile RHT[60] 1920s LHT The Santiago Metro uses RHT.
China RHT 1946 RHT/LHT At one time, northern provinces were RHT due to American influence, while southern provinces were LHT due to British influence. LHT was uniform in the 1930s. Hong Kong and Macau are all on LHT due to their colonial heritage. Most metro systems use RHT, except for the Hong Kong MTR and the Macau LRT.
Colombia RHT[60] RHT
Comoros RHT[60]
Congo RHT[60]
Democratic Republic of Congo RHT[60]
Costa Rica RHT[60]
Côte d'Ivoire RHT[60]
Croatia RHT[60] RHT Istria and Dalmatia were RHT, while Croatia-Slavonia was LHT when Croatia was part of Austria-Hungary[76]. The LHT regions switched to RHT on joining the Kingdom of Yugoslavia.
Cuba RHT[60] RHT
Cyprus LHT[60] Former British colony.
Czech Republic RHT[60] 1939 RHT Was LHT, like most of former Austria-Hungary, switched during the German occupation of Czechoslovakia.
Denmark RHT RHT[77] Includes Faroe Islands and Greenland
Djibouti RHT[60]
Dominica LHT[60] Former British colony.
Dominican Republic RHT[60]
East Timor LHT 1976 Originally LHT, like its colonial power Portugal. Switched to RHT with Portugal in 1928.[1] Under the Indonesian occupation of East Timor, changed back to LHT in 1976.
Ecuador RHT[60] LHT The Quito Metro and Cuenca tram system will use RHT.
Egypt RHT[60] LHT Road vehicles are RHT due to French influence, but railway system was built by British companies.
El Salvador RHT[60]
Equatorial Guinea RHT[60]
Eritrea RHT[60] 1964
Estonia RHT[60] RHT
Ethiopia RHT[60] 1964 LHT The Addis Ababa Light Rail uses RHT.
Fiji LHT LHT
Finland RHT 1858 RHT/LHT Formerly ruled as part of LHT Sweden, switched to RHT as the Grand Duchy of Finland by Russian decree.[78] Most of the Helsinki commuter rail lines use LHT, but the Helsinki Metro uses RHT.
France RHT 1792 LHT[79]/RHT Includes French Polynesia, New Caledonia, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Wallis and Futuna, French Guiana, Réunion, Saint Barthélemy, Collectivity of Saint Martin, Guadeloupe, Mayotte.
Railroads in Alsace and Moselle use RHT as a former part of German Empire. CDGVAL uses RHT. Most metro systems use RHT, except for the Lyon Metro.
Gabon RHT[60]
Gambia RHT 1965[37]
Georgia RHT[60] RHT About 40% vehicles in Georgia are RHD due to the low cost of used cars imported from Japan[80]. The Batumi Ropeway uses LHT.
Germany RHT[81] RHT
Ghana RHT 1974[82] Former British colony. Ghana changed to driving on the right on 4 August 1974, the last former British colony in the region to do so, the military National Redemption Council having passed the Right Hand Traffic Act by decree in 1973.[83] When changing to RHT, a Twi language slogan was "Nifa, Nifa Enan" or "Right, Right, Fourth".[84]Ghana has also banned RHD vehicles. Ghana prohibited new registrations of RHD vehicles after 1 August 1974, three days before the traffic change on 4 August 1974. RHD vehicles may be imported only temporarily into Sierra Leone, for example for humanitarian programmes, but must be exported at the end of the operation.
Greece RHT[60] RHT
Grenada LHT[60]
Guatemala RHT[60]
Guinea RHT[60]
Guinea-Bissau RHT[60] 1928
Guyana LHT[60]
Haiti RHT[60]
Honduras RHT[60]
Hong Kong LHT[60] Former British Colony.
Hungary RHT[60] 1941 RHT Originally LHT, like most of Austria-Hungary.
Iceland RHT 1968 The day of the switch was known as H-dagurinn. Most passenger cars were already LHD.
Iran RHT[60] RHT
Iraq RHT[60] LHT
India LHT[60] LHT Former British colony.
Indonesia LHT[62] RHT[85] Roads were built by British, but railways are RHT due to Dutch influence. The Jakarta MRT will also use RHT.
Ireland LHT[60] LHT Part of the United Kingdom until 1922.
Israel RHT[60] LHT Under British rule till 1948; The Jerusalem Light Rail uses RHT.
Italy RHT 1920s LHT Until 1927 the countryside was RHT while cities were LHT.[86] Rome changed to RHT in 1924 and Milan in 1926. Alfa Romeo and Lancia did produce LHD cars until as late as 1950 and 1953 respectively only to special order, as many drivers favoured the RHD layout even in RHT as this offered the driver a clearer view of the edge of the road in mountainous regions at a time when many such roads lacked barriers or walls.[87]
The metro systems in Brescia, Genoa, Milan, and Turin use RHT, as well as all tram systems.
Jamaica LHT[60]
Japan LHT[88] LHT/RHT Post-World War II Okinawa was ruled by the United States Civil Administration of the Ryukyu Islands and was RHT. It was returned to Japan in 1972 but did not convert back to LHT until 1978.[89] The conversion operation was known as 730 (Nana-San-Maru, which refers to the date of the changeover, 30 July). Okinawa is one of few places to have changed from RHT to LHT in the late 20th century. The Hakone Ropeway uses RHT. Also then has been several geared RHT vehicles, imported from North America and Europe. It begin to starts selling all cars and unveiled at car shows instead using the LHTs importers by country, currently it uses as a mixture between LHTs and RHTs in Japan.
Jordan RHT[60] RHT, despite the Mandate for Palestine and the Transjordan memorandum being under British rule till 1946.
Kazakhstan RHT[60] RHT
Kenya LHT[90] British colony until 1963.
Kiribati LHT[60]
North Korea RHT 1946 LHT/RHT Korea had been LHT because of the influence of Japan in the 1900s. Switched to RHT under Soviet and American occupation after 1945.
The metro system in Pyongyang uses a mixture of RHT and LHT.
South Korea RHT 1946 LHT/RHT Korea had been LHT because of the influence of Japan in the 1900s. Switched to RHT under Soviet and American occupation after 1945.
Most metro systems in South Korea use RHT (exceptions include lines 1 and 4 of the Seoul Metropolitan Subway, the Bundang Line, and the Shinbundang Line).
Kosovo RHT RHT
Kuwait RHT[60]
Kyrgyzstan RHT RHT Former part of RHT Soviet Union. In 2012, over 20,000 cheaper used RHD cars were imported from Japan.[91]
Laos RHT[60] LHT RHT implemented while part of French Indochina.
Latvia RHT[60] RHT
Lebanon RHT[60] Former French mandate.
Lesotho LHT[60]
Liberia RHT[60]
Libya RHT[60]
Liechtenstein RHT[60] RHT
Lithuania RHT[60] RHT
Luxembourg RHT[60] RHT
Macedonia RHT[60] RHT
Madagascar RHT[60]
Malawi LHT[60]
Malaysia LHT[60] LHT Former British colony.
Maldives LHT[60] Former British colony.
Mali RHT[60]
Malta LHT[60] British colony until 1964.
Marshall Islands RHT[60] Was being under American rule.
Mauritania RHT Mining roads between Fderîck and Zouérat are LHT.[92]
Mauritius LHT[60] Former British colony. Island nation.
Mexico RHT[60] RHT
Micronesia RHT[60] Was being under American rule. Nearly 80% vehicles are RHD due to the import of used cars from Japan.
Moldova RHT[60] RHT
Monaco RHT[60] LHT
Mongolia RHT[60] RHT
Montenegro RHT[60] RHT
Morocco RHT[60] RHT
Mozambique LHT[93] LHT
Myanmar RHT 1970 LHT Much of infrastructure still geared to LHT, most cars are used RHD vehicles, imported from Japan.[94]
Netherlands RHT 1906[95] RHT Rotterdam was LHT until 1917.[96] Includes Curaçao, Sint Maarten, and Aruba
Namibia LHT 1918 RHT as a German colony. After South Africa occupied German South-West Africa during World War I, switched to LHT.[1] South-West Africa was made a South African mandate by the League of Nations, and the new rule of the road was established in law.[97]
Nauru LHT[60] 1918
Nepal LHT[98] Former British mandate.
New Zealand LHT[62] LHT Includes territories Niue and Cook Islands
Nicaragua RHT[60]
Niger RHT[60]
Nigeria RHT 1972[99] LHT Former British colony. Switched to RHT as it is surrounded by former French RHT colonies. Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) warned operators of RHD vehicles that they would face prosecution[100] under Section 71 of the National Road Traffic Regulation (2004), which states that no RHD vehicle shall be registered or driven on public roads.[101]
Norway RHT[60] RHT
Oman RHT Not a party to the Vienna Convention on Road Traffic and bans all foreign-registered RHD vehicles.[102]
Pakistan LHT[60] LHT Was part of undivided India
Palau RHT[60] Most cars are used RHD vehicles, imported from Japan because it's a second Japanese-speaking country.
Palestine RHT[60]
Panama RHT 1943[103] RHT
Papua New Guinea LHT[60]
Paraguay RHT 1945[104]
Peru RHT[60] LHT
Philippines RHT 1946[36] RHT Was LHT during the Spanish and American colonial periods. Switched to RHT during Battle of Manila in 1945.
Poland RHT RHT Partitions of Poland belonging to the German Empire and the Russian Empire were RHT. Partitions that were part of Austria-Hungary were LHT and changed to RHT in the 1920s.[105]
Portugal RHT[62] 1928 LHT Colonies Goa, Macau and Mozambique, which had land borders with LHT countries, did not switch and continue to drive on the left.[93] The Porto Metro uses RHT.
Qatar RHT[60]
Romania RHT[60] RHT Transylvania, the Banat and Bukovina were until 1919 LHT like most of former Austria-Hungary, while Wallachia and Moldavia were already RHT.
Russia RHT[60] RHT In the Russian Far East RHD vehicles are common due to the import of used cars from nearby Japan.[106] Railway between Moscow and Ryazan is LHT. Sormovskaya line in Nizhny Novgorod Metro also uses LHT.
Rwanda RHT[70] Former Belgian mandate. Considering switching to LHT[70][107] like its neighbours Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda.
Saint Kitts and Nevis LHT Former British colony.
Saint Lucia LHT Former British colony.
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines LHT Former British colony.
Samoa LHT 2009 Switched to LHT to allow the import of cars more cheaply from Australia, New Zealand and Japan.[62]
San Marino RHT[60]
São Tomé and Príncipe RHT[60] 1928
Saudi Arabia RHT[60] LHT The Makkah Metro and the Riyadh Metro use RHT.
Senegal RHT[60]
Serbia RHT[60] RHT Vojvodina was LHT while part of Austria-Hungary.
Seychelles LHT[60] Former British colony. Island nation.
Sierra Leone RHT 1971[108] Importation of RHD vehicles was banned in 2013.[109]
Singapore LHT[60] LHT Former British colony.
Slovakia RHT[60] 1939–41 RHT Was LHT like most of former Austria-Hungary. Switched to RHT when it became a client state of Nazi Germany.
Slovenia RHT[60] LHT Was LHT like most of Austria-Hungary. Switched to RHT to unite with Croatia-Slavonia, Dalmatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Montenegro to form with Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes.
Solomon Islands LHT[60]
Somalia RHT 1968[110]
South Africa LHT[111][112] LHT Former British colony.
South Sudan RHT 1973 Was LHT during the period of British colonial rule. Split from Sudan in 2011 after the majority of the population voted for independence.
Spain RHT 1924 RHT Up to the 1920s Barcelona was RHT, and Madrid was LHT until 1924. The Madrid and Bilbao metro systems use LHT.[113]
Sri Lanka LHT[60] LHT Former British colony.
Sudan RHT[60] 1973 Former British colony.
Suriname LHT[60] 1920s
Swaziland LHT[60]
Sweden RHT[60] 1967

3 September

LHT The day of the switch was known as Dagen H. Most passenger cars were already LHD. The tram systems in Gothenburg (except for a short part), Norrköping and Stockholm are RHT.[114] The railroads in Malmö use RHT due to the connection to Denmark.
Switzerland RHT[60] LHT The tram system in Zurich and the Lausanne Metro use RHT.
Syria RHT[60]
Taiwan RHT 1946 LHT Was LHT during the period of Japanese rule. The government of the Republic of China changed Taiwan to RHT in 1946 along with the rest of China.[115] Most metro systems use RHT.
Tajikistan RHT[60] RHT
Tanzania LHT[60]
Thailand LHT[62] LHT One of the few LHT countries not a former British colony. Shares long land border with RHT Laos and Cambodia.
Togo RHT[60]
Tonga LHT[60]
Trinidad and Tobago LHT[116] Former British colony.
Tunisia RHT[60] LHT French RHT was enforced in the French protectorate of Tunisia from 1881.
Turkey RHT[60] RHT
Turkmenistan RHT[60] RHT
Tuvalu LHT[60] Former British colony.
Uganda LHT[60]
Ukraine RHT 1922[105] RHT West Ukraine was LHT, like most of former Austria-Hungary. Carpathian Ruthenia remained LHT as part of Czechoslovakia before switching in 1941 as part of Hungary. The rest of Ukraine, having been part of the Russian Empire, already drove on the right.
Some sections of Kryvyi Rih Metrotram use LHT due to tramcars have doors only on right side, which makes it impossible to use RHT at stations with island platforms.[117]
United Arab Emirates RHT[60] RHT
United Kingdom LHT
(Mainland UK)
RHT
(Gibraltar, British Indian Ocean Territory)
1929
(in Gibraltar)
LHT Includes Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories Isle of Man, Guernsey, Jersey, Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Montserrat, Pitcairn Islands (unregistered), Turks and Caicos Islands, Saint Helena, Ascension, Tristan da Cunha are all LHT. Gibraltar has been RHT since 1929 because of its land border with Spain.[118] The British Indian Ocean Territory is the only other overseas territory driving on the right. The Channel Islands (Jersey and Guernsey) drove on the right under German occupation until their liberation in 1945.[119] The Falkland Islands similarly drove on the right during their occupation by Argentina in 1982.[120]However, virtually all passenger vehicles in British Virgin Islands are LHD due to grey imports of used cars from USA and South Korea.
United States RHT
LHT
(U.S. Virgin Islands)
RHT/LHT[121] Includes American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico. U.S. Virgin Islands is LHT, like much of the Caribbean, as the only American jurisdiction that still has LHT, because the islands drove on the left when the United States purchased the former Danish West Indies from Denmark in 1917. However, virtually all passenger vehicles are LHD due to imports of US vehicles.
Uruguay RHT 1945[122] LHT Became LHT in 1918, but as in some other countries in South America, changed to RHT on 2 September 1945.[122] A speed limit of 30 km/h (19 mph) was observed until 30 September for safety.
Uzbekistan RHT[60] RHT
Vanuatu RHT[123]
Venezuela RHT[60] LHT The Caracas Metro uses RHT.
Vietnam RHT[60] LHT Became RHT as French Indochina.
Yemen RHT 1977[1] South Yemen, formerly the British colony of Aden, changed to RHT in 1977. A series of postage stamps commemorating the event was issued.[124] North Yemen was already RHT.
Zambia LHT[60]
Zimbabwe LHT LHT Former British colony. In 2010 the government attempted to ban LHD vehicles.[125]

Traffic rulesEdit

 
LHT
 
RHT
Manoeuvre LHT RHT
Unless overtaking stay on the left right
In roundabouts traffic rotates clockwise anti-clockwise
Oncoming traffic is seen coming from the right left
Traffic must cross oncoming traffic when turning right left
Most traffic signs are on the left right
Pedestrians crossing a two-way road look first for traffic from their right left
Dual carriageway ramps are on the left right
After stopping at a red light it may be legal to turn left right
On most vehicles the driver sits on the right left

Rail trafficEdit

 
  Trains use right-hand track
  Trains use left-hand track
UK, Ireland, Sweden, France, Belgium, Italy, Switzerland, Portugal and Slovenia have LHT for trains. Iceland, Andorra, Cyprus and Malta do not have railroads.

Several states in Europe have RHT for roads but LHT for trains. France has mainly LHT for trains, except in Alsace-Lorraine, an eastern French territory which belonged to Germany for much of its history.

GalleryEdit

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

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External linksEdit