On the right and the left…

One of the things I’ve noticed in my travels that that nations which drive on the left hand side of the road tend to be islands. Most of the island nations I can think of all drive on the left: UK, Ireland, Australia (an island for the purpose of this discussion), Singapore, New Zealand, Japan, Hong Kong, and pretty much all of the Carrebian. Most of these places also had a significant British influence. (Labrador and Prince Edward Island also drove on the left until the early 20th Century)

I began to wonder if there were any places that were not islands that drove on the left. Sure enough there are a bunch. 1/3 of the world infact. India, Pakistan, Kenya, Buthan, Thailand, Malaysia, Tanzania, South Africa, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Mozambique, Uganda, Guyana, and Botswana. If you can imagine a map of the world, you have Africa basically split in two. There is a line that runs along the southern and eastern borders of Angola/Congo/Ethipoa where driving switches. You also have a cluster in South Asia east of Afghanistan, south of the former USSR and China, but not including former French Colonies. Guyana is alone on the South American continent.

You have to wonder if this effects trade at all where you have a border where you have to switch sides? Having driven on the left side of the road during a trip to the Bahamas, you really have to pay attention when you turn. Its nothing something I’d want to have to switch back and forth doing on a regular basis.

Nova Scotia (1923), Labrador (1927), Sweeden (1967), and Burma (1970) have all made the switch from left side driving to right side driving.

This is the sort of crap that I think about. Up next: voltage differences and electrical outlets.

http://www.travel-library.com/general/driving/drive_which_side.html

4 Comments

  1. Paul Charchian

    Gary, have you considered the possible role of the Coriolis Effect?

  2. Amy

    Having just rode with a girl from England on her first driving expadition to the states, I have one word of advice: don’t. It was one of the scariest things I’ve ever done. But, the ironic thing was she kept trying to drive off the road on the right, not drive on the wrong side of the road…

  3. The rotation of the earth is slowing down by about 1/500th of a second each year. I think the imbalance of people driving on the right side of the road might be causing it.

  4. nicole lenz gallery

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