Left- and right-hand traffic

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Countries by handedness of road traffic, c. 2019
  Left-hand traffic
  Right-hand traffic
Change of traffic directions at the Thai–Lao Friendship Bridge
Right-hand traffic on the A2 in Germany
Left-hand traffic on the M25 motorway in the UK

Left-hand traffic (LHT) and right-hand traffic (RHT) are the practice, in bidirectional traffic, of keeping to the left side or to the right side of the road, respectively. A fundamental element to traffic flow, it is sometimes referred to as the rule of the road.[1]

RHT is used in 165 countries and territories, with the remaining 75 countries and territories using LHT.[2] Countries that use LHT account for about a sixth of the world's area with about 35% of its population and a quarter of its roads.[3] 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.[4]

Many of the countries with LHT were formerly part of the British Empire. In addition, Japan, Thailand, Suriname, 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.[citation needed]

For rail traffic, LHT predominates in Western Europe (except Germany, Denmark, Austria, Spain, and the Netherlands), Latin America (except Mexico), 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 effectively RHT: a vessel proceeding along a narrow channel must keep to starboard (the right-hand side), and when two power-driven vessels are meeting head-on both must alter course to starboard also. For aircraft the US Federal Aviation Regulations suggest RHT principles, both in the air and on water.[5]

History[edit]

World map showing the driving directions for all countries and any changes that have occurred in the past starting with Finland's change in 1858.
  Has always driven on the right (RHT).
  Originally drove on the left, but now drives on the right side of the road.
  Has always driven on the left side of the road (LHT).
  Originally drove on the right, but now drives on the left.
  Once had different rules of the road (depending on one's location), but now drives on the right.

Ancient Greek, Egyptian, and Roman troops kept to the left when marching.[6] 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.[7]

The first reference in English law to an order for LHT was in 1756, with regard to London Bridge.[8]

In the year 1300, Pope Boniface VIII directed pilgrims to keep left.[6]

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.[9]

In France, following the French Revolution, all traffic kept right.[8] 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.[10] New York formalized RHT in 1804, New Jersey in 1813 and Massachusetts in 1821.[11]

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 Hong Kong and Macau. The Hong Kong–Zhuhai–Macau Bridge is RHT even though both Hong Kong and Macau are LHT. The United States is RHT except the United States Virgin Islands.[12] The United Kingdom is LHT, but its overseas territories of Gibraltar and British Indian Ocean Territory are RHT.

Changing sides[edit]

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

Europe[edit]

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.[13][14]

Sweden was LHT from about 1734 to 1967,[15] despite having land borders with RHT countries, and approximately 90 percent of cars being left-hand drive (LHD) vehicles.[16] 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,[17] but soon rose back to near its original level.[18] 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".[19]

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.[20] Road building standards, for motorways in particular, allow asymmetrically designed road junctions, where merge and diverge lanes differ in length.[21]

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

Asia[edit]

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 1945 after liberation from Japanese colonial power.[citation needed]

Myanmar switched to RHT in 1970.[22]

The Philippines was mostly LHT during its Spanish[23] and American colonial periods,[24][25] as well as during the Commonwealth era.[26] During the Japanese occupation, the Philippines remained LHT,[27] also because LHT had been required by the Japanese;[28] 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.[29]

Oceania[edit]

Samoa, a former German colony, had been RHT for more than a century. It switched to LHT in 2009,[30] being the first territory in almost 30 years to switch.[31] 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,[32] and an estimated 18,000 people attending demonstrations against it.[33] 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.[31] After months of preparation, the switch from right to left happened in an atmosphere of national celebration. There were no reported incidents.[3] 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.[30] The change coincided with more restrictive enforcement of speeding and seat-belt laws.[34] That day and the following day were declared public holidays, to reduce traffic.[35] The change included a three-day ban on alcohol sales, while police mounted dozens of checkpoints, warning drivers to drive slowly.[3]

Africa[edit]

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.[36]

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).[37] 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.[38] In 2014 an internal report from consultants to the Ministry of Infrastructure recommended a switch to LHT.[39] In 2015, the ban on RHD vehicles was lifted; RHD trucks from neighbouring countries cost $1000 less than LHD models imported from Europe.[40][41]

Safety[edit]

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[42] since humans more commonly have right-eye ocular dominance.[43][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.[4]

Changing sides at borders[edit]

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, and 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 the Eurotunnel Shuttle between the UK and France.

Road vehicle configurations[edit]

Driver seating position[edit]

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.[10] In 1908 Henry Ford standardised the Model T as LHD in RHT America,[10] 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.[10]

In specialised cases, the driver will sit on the nearside, or kerbside. 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 equipment[edit]

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]

Rear fog lamps[edit]

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 differences[edit]

An Australian news source reports that some RHD cars imported to that country did not 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]

Rail traffic[edit]

  Trains use right-hand track
  Trains use left-hand track
  Rail traffic is mixed or lacking

In most countries, rail traffic travels on the same side as road traffic. However, in many cases railways were built, often using LHT British technology, and road traffic switch the RHT while rail remained LHT. Examples include: Argentina, Belgium, Bolivia, Cambodia, Chile, Egypt, France, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Laos, Monaco, Myanmar, Nigeria, Peru, Portugal, Senegal, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Tunisia, Venezuela, and Yemen. In countries such as Indonesia it is the reverse (RHT for rails and LHT for roads). France is mainly LHT for trains, except for the classic lines in Alsace-Lorraine[59] which belonged to Germany when the railways were built before 1918. Metros and light rail sides of operation vary, and might not match railways or roads in their country. Trams generally operate at the same side as a road traffic due to a common sections with roads.

Worldwide distribution by country[edit]

Of the 195 countries currently recognised by the United Nations, 141 use RHT and 54 use LHT on roads in general. A country and its territories and dependencies is counted once. Whichever directionality is listed first is the type that is used in general in the traffic category.

Country Road traffic Road switched sides Notes, exceptions
Afghanistan RHT Was LHT until the 1950s, in line with neighbouring British India and later Pakistan.[60]
Albania RHT[61]
Algeria RHT[62] French Algeria until 1962.
Andorra RHT[63] Landlocked between France and Spain.
Angola RHT[64] 1928 LHT as part of Portuguese Angola. Switched with its colonial power in 1928.
Antigua and Barbuda LHT[65] British colony until 1958. Caribbean island.
Argentina RHT 10 June 1945 The anniversary on 10 June is still observed each year as Día de la Seguridad Vial (road safety day).[66]
Armenia RHT[67]
Australia LHT British colony before 1901. Island nation.
Austria RHT 1921–38 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.[68]
Azerbaijan RHT[2]
Bahamas LHT[69] British colony before 1973. Caribbean island.
Bahrain RHT 1967 Former British protectorate. Switched to same side as neighbours.[70]
Bangladesh LHT[69] Part of British India before 1947.
Barbados LHT British colony before 1966. Caribbean archipelagic state.
Belgium RHT 1899[71]
Belarus RHT[72]
Belize RHT 1961[1] Former British colony. Switched to same side as neighbours.
Benin RHT Part of French West Africa before 1960.
Bhutan LHT[69] Under British protection before 1949.
Bolivia RHT
Bosnia and Herzegovina RHT[2] 1918 Switched sides after the collapse of Austria-Hungary.
Botswana LHT[69]
Brazil RHT 1928[2] Switched from LHT with Portugal in 1928.[73]
Brunei LHT[69] UK colony before 1984.
Bulgaria RHT[2]
Burkina Faso RHT Part of French West Africa before 1958.
Burundi RHT Belgian colony before 1962. Considering switching to LHT[74] in line with neighbours Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda.
Cambodia RHT 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.[75]
Cameroon RHT[2] 1961
Canada RHT 1920–24 Former parts of New France have always been RHT.[76] LHT jurisdictions included British Columbia, which changed to RHT in stages from 1920 to 1923,[77][78] and New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island which changed in 1922, 1923, and 1924 respectively.[79] The Dominion of Newfoundland changed to RHT in 1947 while still a British colony, two years before joining Canada.[80]
Cape Verde RHT[2] 1928 Originally LHT, like its colonial power Portugal. Switched to RHT with Portugal in 1928.
Central African Republic RHT[2] French colony before 1960.
Chad RHT[2] French colony before 1960.
Chile RHT[2] 1920s
China RHT/LHT 1946 LHT was uniform in the 1930s, then the northern provinces were RHT. Macau and Hong Kong are LHT.[2]
Colombia RHT[2]
Comoros RHT[2] French colony before 1975.
Republic of Congo RHT[2] French colony before 1960.
Democratic Republic of Congo RHT[2] Belgian colony before 1960.
Costa Rica RHT[2]
Côte d'Ivoire RHT[2] Part of French West Africa before 1960.
Croatia RHT[2] Istria and Dalmatia were RHT, while Croatia-Slavonia was LHT when Croatia was part of Austria-Hungary.[81] The LHT regions switched to RHT on joining the Kingdom of Yugoslavia.
Cuba RHT[2]
Cyprus LHT[69] Under UK administration before 1960. Island nation.
Czech Republic RHT[2] 1939 Was LHT, like most of former Austria-Hungary, switched during the German occupation of Czechoslovakia.
Denmark RHT Includes Faroe Islands and Greenland
Djibouti RHT[2]
Dominica LHT[69] British colony before 1978. Caribbean island.
Dominican Republic RHT[2]
East Timor LHT 1976 Shares the island of Timor with LHT Indonesia. Was LHT as part of Portuguese Timor, then switched to RHT with Portugal in 1928.[1] Under the Indonesian occupation of East Timor, changed back to LHT in 1976.
Ecuador RHT[2]
Egypt RHT[2]
El Salvador RHT[2]
Equatorial Guinea RHT[2]
Eritrea RHT[2] 1964 Italian colony before 1942.
Estonia RHT[2]
Ethiopia RHT[2] 1964
Fiji LHT British colony before 1970. Island nation.
Finland RHT 1858 Formerly ruled as part of LHT Sweden, switched to RHT in 1858 as the Grand Duchy of Finland by Russian decree.[82]
France RHT 1792 Includes French Polynesia, New Caledonia, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Wallis and Futuna, French Guiana, Réunion, Saint Barthélemy, Collectivity of Saint Martin, Guadeloupe, Mayotte.
Gabon RHT[2]
Gambia RHT 1965[36] Former British colony. Switched to RHT as it is surrounded by former French RHT colonies.
Georgia RHT[2] About 40% vehicles in Georgia are RHD due to the low cost of used cars imported from Japan.[83]
Germany RHT[84]
Ghana RHT 1974[85] British colony before 1957.[86] When changing to RHT, a Twi language slogan was "Nifa, Nifa Enan" or "Right, Right, Fourth".[87] Ghana has also banned RHD vehicles. Ghana prohibited new registrations of RHD vehicles after 1 August 1974, three days before the traffic change.
Greece RHT[2]
Grenada LHT[69] British colony before 1974. Caribbean island.
Guatemala RHT[2]
Guinea RHT[2]
Guinea-Bissau RHT[2] 1928 Originally LHT, like its colonial power Portugal. Switched to RHT with Portugal in 1928.
Guyana LHT[69] British colony before 1970. Along with neighbouring Guyana, one of only two remaining LHT countries in the mainland Americas.
Haiti RHT[2]
Holy See RHT[2] Enclave of Rome.
Honduras RHT[2]
Hungary RHT[2] 1941 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[2]
Iraq RHT[2]
India LHT[69] Part of British India before 1947.
Indonesia LHT[88] Roads and railways were built by the Dutch, with LHT for roads to conform to Asian standards and RHT for railways. The Jakarta MRT and Palembang LRT also use RHT.
Ireland LHT[69] Part of the United Kingdom before 1922.
Israel RHT[2]
Italy RHT 1924–26 Until 1927 the countryside was RHT while cities were LHT.[89] 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.[90]
While the Rome Metro uses LHT, the metro systems in Brescia, Genoa, Milan, and Turin use RHT.
Jamaica LHT[69] British colony before 1962. Caribbean island.
Japan LHT[91] 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.[92] 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.
Jordan RHT[2]
Kazakhstan RHT[2]
Kenya LHT[93] Part of the British East Africa Protectorate before 1963.
Kiribati LHT[69] UK colony before 1979. Pacific islands.
North Korea RHT 1946 Korea had been LHT because of the influence of Japan in the 1900s. Switched to RHT under Soviet and American occupation after 1945.
South Korea RHT 1946
Kosovo RHT
Kuwait RHT[2]
Kyrgyzstan RHT Former part of RHT Soviet Union. In 2012, over 20,000 cheaper used RHD cars were imported from Japan.[94]
Laos RHT[2] RHT implemented while part of French Indochina.
Latvia RHT[2]
Lebanon RHT[2] French Mandate of Lebanon before 1946.
Lesotho LHT[69] Enclave of LHT South Africa.
Liberia RHT[2]
Libya RHT[2] Italian Libya colony from 1911 to 1947.
Liechtenstein RHT[2] Landlocked between Switzerland and Austria.
Lithuania RHT[2]
Luxembourg RHT[2]
Macedonia RHT[2]
Madagascar RHT[2]
Malawi LHT British colony before 1964.
Malaysia LHT British colony before 1957.
Maldives LHT British colony before 1965. Island nation.
Mali RHT Part of French West Africa before 1960.
Malta LHT British colony before 1964. Island nation.
Marshall Islands RHT[2]
Mauritania RHT Part of French West Africa before 1960. Mining roads between Fderîck and Zouérat are LHT.[95]
Mauritius LHT British colony before 1968. Island nation.
Mexico RHT[2]
Micronesia RHT[2]
Moldova RHT[2]
Monaco RHT[2]
Mongolia RHT[2]
Montenegro RHT[2]
Morocco RHT[2]
Mozambique LHT[96] LHT as part of Portuguese Mozambique. Did not switch with its colonial power in 1928, remaining LHT like its land neighbours.
Myanmar RHT 1970 Part of British India until 1948. Much of infrastructure still geared to LHT, most cars are used RHD vehicles, imported from Japan.[97]
Netherlands RHT 1906[98] Rotterdam was LHT until 1917.[99] Includes Curaçao, Sint Maarten, and Aruba
Namibia LHT 1918 Administered by South Africa 1920-1990.
Nauru LHT[69] 1918 Administered by Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom until 1968. Island nation.
Nepal LHT Never colonized, land border with LHT India.
New Zealand LHT[100] British colony before 1947. Pacific island, including territories Niue and Cook Islands
Nicaragua RHT[2]
Niger RHT[2] Part of French West Africa before 1958.
Nigeria RHT 1972[101] British colony before 1960. Surrounded by RHT former French colonies. Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) warned operators of RHD vehicles that they would face prosecution[102] under Section 71 of the National Road Traffic Regulation (2004), which states that no RHD vehicle shall be registered or driven on public roads.[103]
Norway RHT[2]
Oman RHT[104]
Pakistan LHT[69] Part of British India before 1947.
Palau RHT[2]
Palestine RHT[2]
Panama RHT 1943[105]
Papua New Guinea LHT After Australia occupied German New Guinea during World War I, switched to LHT.
Paraguay RHT 1945[106]
Peru RHT[2]
Philippines RHT 1946[29] Was LHT during the Spanish and American colonial periods. Switched to RHT during Battle of Manila in 1945. Philippine National Railways switched to RHT in 2010.
Poland 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.[107]
Portugal RHT[88] 1928 Colonies Goa, Macau and Mozambique, which had land borders with LHT countries, did not switch and continue to drive on the left.[96] The Porto Metro uses RHT.
Qatar RHT[2]
Romania 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[2] In the Russian Far East RHD vehicles are common due to the import of used cars from nearby Japan.[108] Railway between Moscow and Ryazan, Sormovskaya line in Nizhny Novgorod Metro and Moskva River cable car use LHT.
Rwanda RHT[74] Former Belgian mandate. Considering switching to LHT[74][109] like its neighbours Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda.
Saint Kitts and Nevis LHT British colony before 1967. Caribbean island.
Saint Lucia LHT British colony before 1979. Caribbean island.
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines LHT British colony before 1979. Caribbean island.
Samoa LHT 2009 Switched to LHT to allow for cheaper importation of cars from Australia, New Zealand and Japan.[88]
San Marino RHT[2] Enclaved state surrounded by Italy.
São Tomé and Príncipe RHT[2] 1928 Originally LHT, like its colonial power Portugal. Switched to RHT with Portugal in 1928.
Saudi Arabia RHT[2] 1942
Senegal RHT Part of French West Africa before 1960.
Serbia RHT[2] Vojvodina was LHT while part of Austria-Hungary.
Seychelles LHT British colony before 1976. Island nation.
Sierra Leone RHT 1971[110] Sierra Leone Colony and Protectorate of Britain until 1951. Switched to RHT as it is surrounded by former French RHT colonies. Importation of RHD vehicles was banned in 2013.[111]
Singapore LHT Former British colony.
Slovakia RHT[2] 1939–41 Was LHT like most of former Austria-Hungary. Switched to RHT when it became a client state of Nazi Germany.
Slovenia RHT[2] 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[69] British colony before 1975. Island nation.
Somalia RHT
South Africa LHT[112][113] British colony before 1909.
South Sudan RHT 1973 Former part of Anglo-Egyptian Sudan.
Spain RHT 1924 Up to the 1920s Barcelona was RHT, and Madrid was LHT until 1924.
Sri Lanka LHT[69] British Ceylon 1815-1948.
Sudan RHT[2] 1973 Former part of Anglo-Egyptian Sudan. Switched to RHT as it is surrounded by neighboring RHT countries.
Suriname LHT[69] 1920s Along with neighbouring Guyana, one of only two remaining LHT countries in the mainland Americas.
Swaziland LHT[69] Former Portuguese colony. Continues to drive on the same side as neighboring countries.
Sweden RHT[2] 3 September 1967 The day of the switch was known as Dagen H. Most passenger cars were already LHD.
Switzerland RHT[2]
Syria RHT[2]
Taiwan RHT 1946 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.[114]
Tajikistan RHT[2]
Tanzania LHT[69] Part of the British East Africa Protectorate until 1961.
Thailand LHT[88] One of the few LHT countries not a former British colony. Shares long land border with RHT Laos and Cambodia.
Togo RHT[2]
Tonga LHT[69] British protectorate before 2010. Polynesian island nation.
Trinidad and Tobago LHT[115] British colony before 1962. Caribbean island.
Tunisia RHT[2] French RHT was enforced in the French protectorate of Tunisia from 1881.
Turkey RHT[2]
Turkmenistan RHT[2]
Tuvalu LHT[69] British colony before 1974. Island nation.
Uganda LHT[69] UK Uganda Protectorate 1894-1962.
Ukraine RHT 1922[107] 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.
United Arab Emirates RHT[2]
United Kingdom LHT/
RHT
1929
(in Gibraltar)
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.[116] 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.[117]
United States RHT/
LHT
U.S. Virgin Islands, like much of the Caribbean, is LHT and is the only American jurisdiction that still has LHT, because the islands drove on the left when the US purchased the former Danish West Indies in the 1917 Treaty of the Danish West Indies.
Uruguay RHT 1945[118] Became LHT in 1918, but as in some other countries in South America, changed to RHT on 2 September 1945.[118] A speed limit of 30 km/h (19 mph) was observed until 30 September for safety.
Uzbekistan RHT[2]
Vanuatu RHT[119]
Venezuela RHT[2]
Vietnam RHT[2] Became RHT as French Indochina.
Western Sahara RHT[2] Occupied by Spain until the late 20th century.
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.[120] North Yemen was already RHT.
Zambia LHT[69] UK colony before 1964.
Zimbabwe LHT[69] UK colony before 1965.

Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]