Drive on the right side

I’ve often pondered the question of why some countries drive on the left-hand side of the road, and others on the right. We normally mount horses from the left — presumably because a sword would get in the way while doing so from the other side — so they are naturally positioned to set off down the left side of the road, as God and the King clearly intended. Why, then, would other countries have adopted a different system?

This great article talks about how Sweden switched over from driving on the left to the right in 1967. Extract:

When horse-back was the primary mode of transit, people generally rode on the left side of roads so that their right hand remained free to greet oncoming riders—or to attack them with a sword.

But with the rise of horse-drawn carriage, conventions began to change. Drivers would often sit on on the left rear horse, so their dominant right hands could more easily control the rest of the team which stood to the front and right of the driver. It then made sense for them to drive on the right side of roads so the driver could be positioned in the middle of the lane and be able to more easily keep track of carriages behind them.

So there you have it. Worth reading the rest. But don’t listen to the Telstars’ song, Håll dig till höger, Svensson, or you may be humming it for some time.

Thanks to Mark Littlewood for the link.

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