Is the driver’s side the left or right? Automobiles exist in a variety of styles, sizes, and layouts. On the other hand, the driver’s seat is something you might anticipate to remain conventional. However, it can be perplexing when the driver’s side isn’t always the same, especially when going from one country to another.
Table of Contents
Is the Driver’s Side the Left or Right?
Keep in mind that there is a relationship between which side of the automobile the driver seat is and which side of the road cars travel on to understand why the driver’s side might be left or right. For example, a vehicle is considered left-hand drive if the driver’s seat is on the left side. However, the driver’s side is also on the right in a right-hand drive car.
This is when things become complicated. Every country is subject to one of two traffic regimes that decide which side of the road cars should drive on.
Left-hand traffic refers to a system in which cars must drive on the left side of the road (LHT). Drivers sit on the right side of the automobile in left-hand traffic, indicating a right-hand drive.
Similarly, right-hand traffic refers to a system in which vehicles travel on the right side of the road (RHT). The driver is seated on the left side of the car, giving it a left-hand drive vehicle.
The Reason for Right Hand Drive (RHD) Automobiles
There are many parallels between countries with similar driver positions. For example, the driver’s controls are typically located on the right side of the car in most former British colonies, including India, Pakistan, Australia, and several other countries.
Roughly 55 countries, or around 35 percent of the world’s population, drive on the left side of the road, and the explanation behind this is incredible and stretches back hundreds of years.
Because most people are right-handed, swordsmen used to advance on the left side to obtain an advantage over their opponents. Furthermore, because the sword is placed on the left side of the body, mounting a horse from the left side is more accessible.
The Reason for Left-Hand Drive (LHD) Automobiles
When the great French conqueror Napoleon Bonaparte began taking control of numerous countries and enforced right-hand driving, the tradition of driving on the left side of the road started to shift.
Because he is left-handed, he wished the countries under his power to adopt the regulations that fit his personality.
You might be wondering why Americans drive on the right side of the road and why their automobiles have left-hand driver controls. The first reason is that Americans wished to remove any evidence of British colonization, while the second reason is primarily due to the mechanics of antique horse carts.
The debut of Henry Ford’s famed Ford Model T with left-hand drive reinforced this tradition, and practically every car used in the United States since then has been an LHD car.
Differences in Driving with The Left and Right Hand
There are no changes between left and right-hand driving save for the location of the driver’s seat. The driver’s pedal order (clutch, brake, and gas) hasn’t changed. The driver’s seat is always closest to the side of oncoming traffic unless you’re driving a wrong-hand car.
Is It Possible to Drive an RHD Car in a Country Where Traffic Moves From Right to Left?
Many people wonder if they can drive a right-hand drive car in a country where everyone operates on the left side of the road and vice versa.
The complete answer to this topic varies by country; for example, specific countries, particularly those with solid driving restrictions, do not allow the import or sale of cars with the driver’s side on the wrong side.
This is beneficial when you realize that all road signs and conditions are designed with a particular driver.
Shifting to a car with the driver’s controls on the wrong side might also be confusing because the gear lever will be on the wrong side.
If the automobile has an automatic transmission, the position of the gear lever makes no difference, but driving a manual transmission car while seated on the wrong side will be a substantial change, and you will most likely mess up gear changes.
The current traffic system determines the position of the driver of a vehicle. In general, the driver sits on the side of the vehicle closest to oncoming traffic. The driver sits on the left side of the car in countries where traffic keeps to the right and on the right side of the road where autos keep to the left.
Hi there! I’m Naomi O’Colman. I’ve got years of experience working at an auto repair shop here in Texas under my belt. On top of that, ever since I was a kid I’ve been passionate about the auto industry. Since I’ve joined the team at automotivegearz.com I’ve been enthusiastically sharing my passion and insights with my readers. I’m dedicated to delivering high quality content and helping you stay up to date with the latest automotive trends and products out there!