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No Two Rights

September 3, 2015 Hastings and Hastings

Two hands, left and right. Years ago, it was thought that left-handed people were possessed by the devil. We now consider this untrue. Especially since a hefty share of the world drives on the left hand of the road and are thus inclined to left-handedness. In America it is a given that we always drive on the right side on the road. However, this is not the case everywhere in the world, and the division is nowhere close to 50%. Well over 65% of the world drives on the right side of the road, while less than 35% drives on the left. This wasn’t always the case, in fact most of the world started off driving on the left!

The first vehiclesof the world weren’t cars at all, they were horses, and Romans rode their horses on the left side of the road. This was to leave their right hands free so they could protect themselves on those wild roads, something we luckily no longer have to worry about. Still, many countries continue this tradition, including: the United Kingdom, India, Australia, New Zealand, and many more.

America started off as a left handed driving nation, but this didn’t last long. In 1792 we started to change, beginning in Philadelphia and later spreading to New York and New Jersey. Strangely enough, when cars started showing up on our roads the steering wheels were all on the right hand side. Ford changed this in 1908 with the release of their iconic Ford Model T, the first American car with the steering wheel on the left-hand side. The rest is history. The Model T became so popular and successful that the left-handed steering wheel became the American standard.

On your next trip to England or Australian, remember, strange as it may feel, when you drive on the left side of the road you are carrying on a tradition stretching back thousands of years all the way to ancient Rome.