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Why is there left-hand traffic in some countries?

Why about 34% of the World’s inhabitants prefer to drive on the left side in their countries, and the remaining 66% – on the right, no one knows exactly, although there is no shortage of guesses.

Why is there left-hand traffic in some countries?
Perhaps the most beautiful version of his “leftism” put forward by the inhabitants of Albion. According to it, in medieval England, knights preferred to ride on the left side of the street, so that it was more convenient to shake the right hand of a knight riding towards them, or to fight with him.By the way, in addition to England itself, most of the countries in which left-hand traffic exists today are former English colonies, and dominions (semi – colonies) – India, Pakistan, Australia, and many smaller countries.

The “right-wing” US also has its own historical version of the commitment to the right-wing movement. According to it, the carts of the American first settlers when traveling on the vast prairies were harnessed “Zug” – in pairs in two or even three rows, and on the front left horse sat the driver – postilion, it was easier for him to manage the team, and get on the horse, and get off it. Accordingly, the traffic was on the right side.

In Russia, traffic on roads and streets was traditionally right-sided, and in 1752 this tradition was officially fixed by the decree of the Empress Elizabeth. Since then, Russia has withstood two invasions of right-hand drive cars – in the 10s of the twentieth century (from Austria-Hungary and England) and in the recent 90s (mainly from Japan), but it has not retreated from the established tradition and accepted standard. Unlike, say, Sweden, which in 1967 switched “from the left side to the right” to meet the standard of most European countries. The only known authorized deviation from the accepted standard in Russia is the may 9 parade reception ceremony on red square, when two ZIL cars are moving in left-hand mode.

Countries with left-hand traffic

Naturally, when traveling to countries with left-hand traffic, our compatriots may have difficulties, mainly psychological ones. An increasing number of Russian tourists prefer to travel by car rented in the country of visit.

Here, if the traffic mode in the country of the visit is left-hand, the same difficulties arise. The main one – the need to change gear with a “different” (unusual) hand-loses relevance if the car is equipped with an automatic transmission. But there are still turn indicator buttons and other control buttons – all of them in the right-hand drive car are located in places unusual for the Russian driver, up to the volume control on the radio. Over time, these problems go away, but at first you need to be extremely careful.

Left-hand traffic creates problems for ordinary, “walking” tourists. It is unusual to cross the street, looking first to the left, and when you reach the middle-to the right. In addition, ” left-handedness “is not a mirror of” right-handedness”, it has its own characteristics. For example, water transport in all countries, including those with left-hand traffic, is right-hand traffic. Therefore, a tourist from a “right-sided” country can only do one thing-carefully study the rules and established traditions of traffic in the countries of the visit and strictly observe them.

 

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