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The Info List - Right- And Left-hand Traffic





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 LHT countries were formerly part of the British Empire, although some were not, such as Japan, Thailand, Indonesia, and Suriname. Conversely, many RHT countries were part of the French colonial empire. For rail transport, 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.[citation needed]

Boats are traditionally piloted from starboard to facilitate priority to the right 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] In LHT vehicles keep left, and cars are RHD (right-hand drive) with the steering wheel on the right-hand side and the driver sitting on the offside or side closest to the center of the road. The passenger sits on the nearside, closest to the curb. Roundabouts circulate clockwise. In RHT everything is reversed: cars keep right, the driver sits on the left side of the car, and roundabouts circulate counterclockwise.

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1 History

1.1 Europe 1.2 Africa 1.3 North America 1.4 Asia 1.5 Oceania 1.6 South America

2 Changing sides at borders 3 Road
Road
vehicle configurations

3.1 Driver seating position 3.2 Headlamps and other lighting equipment

3.2.1 Rear fog lamps

3.3 Crash testing differences

4 Rail traffic 5 Worldwide distribution by country 6 Gallery 7 See also 8 References 9 External links

History[edit] Europe[edit] Border between Sweden and Norway in 1934 Traffic
Traffic
moves from left to right in Stockholm, Sweden, on 3 September 1967 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] In the year 1300, Pope Boniface VIII
Pope Boniface VIII
directed pilgrims to keep left.[6] Following the French Revolution, all traffic in France kept right.[8] The first reference in English law
English law
to an order for LHT was in 1756, with regard to London Bridge.[8] The United Kingdom is LHT, but its overseas territories of Gibraltar
Gibraltar
and British Indian Ocean Territory are RHT. 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.[9] Road
Road
building standards, for motorways in particular, allow asymmetrically designed road junctions, where merge and diverge lanes differ in length.[10] Sweden switched to RHT in 1967, having been LHT from about 1734[11] despite having land borders with RHT countries, and approximately 90 percent of cars being left-hand drive (LHD) vehicles.[12] 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,[13] but soon rose back to near its original level.[14] The day was known as Högertrafikomläggningen or Dagen H
Dagen H
for short. When Iceland switched the following year, it was known as Hægri dagurinn or H-dagurinn.[15] Most passenger cars in Iceland were already LHD. LHT was used in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and when the empire was split up, the countries all changed eventually to RHT. Austria switched sides in 1921 in Vorarlberg, 1930 in North Tyrol, 1935 in Carinthia
Carinthia
and East Tyrol, and in 1938 in the rest of the country.[16] Partitions of Poland
Partitions of Poland
changed to RHT in the 1920s,[17] Partitions belonging to the German Empire
German Empire
and the Russian Empire
Russian Empire
were RHT. Croatia-Slavonia switched to RHT on joining the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, although Istria and Dalmatia were already RHT.[18] Nazi Germany introduced the switch to right-hand traffic in Czechoslovakia and Slovakia in 1938–39.[19][20] West Ukraine was LHT, although the rest of Ukraine, having been part of the Russian Empire, already drove on the right. In Romania Transylvania, the Banat
Banat
and Bukovina
Bukovina
were LHT until 1919, while Wallachia
Wallachia
and Moldavia
Moldavia
were already RHT. In Italy the countryside was RHT while cities were LHT until 1927.[21] Rome changed to RHT in 1924 and Milan in 1926. Alfa Romeo and Lancia
Lancia
did produce RHD 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.[22] The Rome Metro
Rome Metro
uses LHT. Finland, formerly ruled as part of LHT Sweden, switched to RHT in 1858 as the Grand Duchy of Finland
Grand Duchy of Finland
by Russian decree.[23] Rotterdam was LHT until 1917,[24] although the rest of the Netherlands was RHT. Russia completely switched to driving on the right in the last days of the Tsars in February 1917. Today, four countries in Europe continue to use left-hand traffic, all island nations: the UK (including Northern Ireland), Cyprus, Republic of Ireland, and Malta.

Africa[edit] Southern African Development Community
Southern African Development Community
LHT roundabout sign RHT roundabout sign LHT was introduced in British West Africa. All of the countries formerly part of this colony have borders with former French RHT jurisdictions and have switched to RHT since decolonization. These include Ghana, The Gambia,[25] Sierra Leone, and Nigeria. LHT was introduced by the British in the East Africa Protectorate
East Africa Protectorate
(now Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda), Rhodesia, and the Cape Colony
Cape Colony
(now Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa). All of these have remained LHT. Sudan, formerly part of Anglo-Egyptian Sudan
Anglo-Egyptian Sudan
switched to RHT in 1973, as it is surrounded by neighbouring RHT countries. The Portuguese Empire, then LHT, introduced that to Portuguese Mozambique and Portuguese Angola. Although Portugal itself switched to RHT in 1928, these territories remained LHT as they have land borders with former British colonies. Other former Portuguese colonies in Africa that switched sides in 1928 including Guinea-Bissau, São Tomé and Príncipe, and Cape Verde. The French introduced RHT in French West Africa
French West Africa
and the Maghreb, where it is still used. Countries in this former colony include Mali, Mauritania, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Benin, Niger, Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia. Other French former colonies that are RHT include Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Djibouti, Gabon, and the Republic of the Congo. Rwanda
Rwanda
and Burundi, former Belgian colonies in Central Africa, are RHT but are considering switching to LHT[26][27] like neighbouring members of the East African Community
East African Community
(EAC).[28] 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.[29] In 2014 an internal report from consultants to the Ministry of Infrastructure recommended a switch to LHT.[30] In 2015, the ban on RHD vehicles was lifted; RHD trucks from neighbouring countries cost $1000 less than LHD models imported from Europe.[31][32] Egypt had been conquered by Napoleon before becoming a British dependency, and its traffic goes to the right.

North America[edit] Saint John, New Brunswick, circa 1898. Parts of Canada were LHT until the 1920s. In what is now Canada, LHT was introduced by the British in British Columbia, which changed to RHT in stages from 1920 to 1923,[33][34] and New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island, which changed in 1922, 1923, and 1924 respectively.[35] Newfoundland, then a British colony,[36] changed to RHT in 1947, two years before joining Canada.[37] Former parts of New France
New France
have always been RHT.[38] In the early years of British colonisation of North America in 18th century, British driving customs were followed and the the original 13 colonies drove on the left. After gaining independence from the United Kingdom in 4 July 1776, however, they were anxious to cast off all remaining links with their British colonial past and gradually changed to right-hand driving, influenced by a number of factors, including gratitude for French help in the War of Independence, the views of those Americans with roots in continental Europe and specifically the influence of General Lafayette, the French liberal reformer. Incidentally, the influence of other European immigrants, especially the French, should not be underestimated. 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.[39] The first keep-right law for driving in the United States was passed in 1792 and applied to the Philadelphia and Lancaster Turnpike.[40] New York formalized RHT in 1804, New Jersey
New Jersey
in 1813 and Massachusetts
Massachusetts
in 1821.[41] Today the United States is RHT except the United States Virgin Islands,[42] which is LHT like many neighboring islands. Some postal service vehicles, garbage trucks, many parking enforcement vehicles and uncommon specialty vehicles in the United States are still being RHD. In the West Indies, colonies and territories drive on the same side as their parent countries, except for the United States Virgin Islands. Many of the island nations are former British colonies and drive on the left, including Jamaica, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, and The Bahamas.

Asia[edit] Vehicles entering and leaving Macau
Macau
cross over each other at the Lotus Bridge. LHT was introduced by the British in British India
India
(now India, Pakistan, Myanmar, and Bangladesh), British Malaya
British Malaya
(now Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore), and British Hong Kong. All are still LHT except Myanmar, which switched to RHT in 1970,[43] although much of its infrastructure still geared to LHT. Most cars are used RHD vehicles imported from Japan.[44] Afghanistan
Afghanistan
was LHT until the 1950s, in line with neighbouring British India
India
and later Pakistan.[45] LHT was introduced by the Portuguese Empire
Portuguese Empire
in Portuguese Macau
Portuguese Macau
(now Macau) and Portuguese Timor
Portuguese Timor
(now East Timor). Both places are still LHT, despite Macau
Macau
now being part of RHT China, requiring a right-to-left switching interchange at the Lotus Bridge
Lotus Bridge
which connects the two. East Timor
East Timor
shares the island of Timor
Timor
with Indonesia, which is also LHT, although the former (then Portuguese Timor) switched to RHT along with Portugal in 1928[1] before changing back to LHT in 1976 during the Indonesian occupation of East Timor. China is RHT except the Special
Special
Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau. LHT was uniform in the 1930s, then the northern provinces were RHT. Nationalist China adopted RHT in 1946. This convention was preserved when the CCP took the mainland and the KMT retreated to Taiwan. Both North Korea
North Korea
and South Korea
South Korea
switched to RHT in 1945 after liberation from Japanese colonial power.[citation needed] The Philippines
Philippines
was mostly LHT during its Spanish[46] and American colonial periods,[47][48] as well as during the Commonwealth era.[49] During the Japanese occupation, the Philippines
Philippines
remained LHT,[50] also because LHT had been required by the Japanese;[51] but during the Battle of Manila, the liberating American forces drove their tanks to the right for easier facilitation of movement. RHT was formalised in 1945.[52] Japan
Japan
was never part of the British Empire, but its traffic also goes to the left. Although the origin of this habit goes back to the Edo period (1603-1868), it wasn’t until 1872 that this unwritten rule became more or less official. That was the year when Japan’s first railway was introduced, built with technical aid from the British. Gradually, a massive network of railways and tram tracks was built, and of course all trains and trams drove on the left-hand side. Still, it took another half century till in 1924 left-side driving was clearly written in a law. In Japan, Post-World War II Okinawa
Okinawa
was ruled by the United States Civil Administration of the Ryukyu Islands and was RHT. It was returned to Japan
Japan
in 1972 but did not convert back to LHT until 1978.[53] The conversion operation was known as 730 (Nana-San-Maru, which refers to the date of the changeover, 30 July). Okinawa
Okinawa
is one of few places to have changed from RHT to LHT in the late 1900s. Vietnam
Vietnam
became RHT as part of French Indochina, as did Cambodia. In the latter country, RHD cars, many of which were smuggled from Thailand, were banned from 2001, even though they accounted for 80% of vehicles in the country.[54]

Oceania[edit] A sign reminding motorists to keep left in Australia. Many former British colonies in the region have always been LHT, including Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Kiribati, Solomon Islands, Tonga, and Tuvalu, as well as nations which administered by Australia are Nauru
Nauru
and Papua New Guinea. Samoa, a former German colony, had been RHT for more than a century. It switched to LHT in 2009,[55] being the first territory in almost 30 years to switch.[56] 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
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,[57] and an estimated 18,000 people attending demonstrations against it.[58] 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.[56] 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.[55] The change coincided with more restrictive enforcement of speeding and seat-belt laws.[59] That day and the following day were declared public holidays, to reduce traffic.[60] The change included a three-day ban on alcohol sales, while police mounted dozens of checkpoints, warning drivers to drive slowly.[3]

South America[edit] Brazil
Brazil
was a colony of Portugal until the early 19th century and during this century and the early 20th century had mixed rules, with some regions still on LHT, switching these remaining regions to RHT in 1928, the same year Portugal switched sides.[61] Other Central and South American countries that later switched from LHT to RHT include Argentina, Chile, Panama,[62] Paraguay,[63] and Uruguay. Suriname, along with neighbouring Guyana, are the only two remaining LHT countries in South America.[64]

Changing sides at borders[edit] Traffic
Traffic
Switchover sign at the Thai–Lao Friendship Bridge 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
Road
Traffic
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.[65] 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.[66] 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
Takutu River Bridge
(which links LHT Guyana
Guyana
and RHT Brazil[67]) is the only border in the Americas where traffic changes sides. Although the United Kingdom is separated from Continental Europe
Continental Europe
by the English Channel, the level of cross-Channel traffic is very high; the Channel Tunnel
Channel Tunnel
alone carries 3.5 million vehicles per year by the Eurotunnel Shuttle
Eurotunnel Shuttle
between the UK and France.

Road
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.[68] Most windshield wipers are designed to clear the driver's side better and have a longer blade on the driver's side[69] and wipe up from the passenger side to the driver's side. Thus on LHD configurations, they wipe up from right to left, viewed from inside the vehicle, and do the opposite on RHD vehicles. 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.[40] In 1908 Henry Ford standardised the Model T
Model T
as LHD in RHT America,[40] 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."[70] By 1915 other manufacturers followed Ford's lead, due to the popularity of the Model T.[40] 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.[71] Where it is more convenient for the driver to be on the nearside, e.g. delivery vehicles. The Grumman LLV
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,[72] and kickstands are usually on the left[73] which makes it more convenient to mount on the safer kerbside[73] as is the case in LHT. Some jurisdictions prohibit fitting a sidecar to a motorcycle's offside.[74][75]

Headlamps and other lighting equipment[edit] Main article: Headlamp 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,[76]: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.[76]: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.[76]:p.12 ¶5.4 Some vehicles adjust the headlamps automatically when the car's GPS
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.[77]

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.[78]

Rail traffic[edit]   Trains use right-hand track  Trains use left-hand track  Rail traffic is mixed or lacking Main article: Double-track railway 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 switched to 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 Indonesia it is the reverse (RHT for rails (even for LRT systems) and LHT for roads). France is mainly LHT for trains, except for the classic lines in Alsace-Lorraine[79] which belonged to Germany when the railways were built before 1918. China is basically LHT for long-distance trains and RHT for metro systems. 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] Countries with left- and right-hand traffic, currently and formerly. Changes since 1858 when Finland
Finland
changed to the right are taken into account.  RHT  Now RHT, formerly LHT  LHT  Now LHT, formerly RHT  Formerly a mix of LHT and RHT in various parts of the country, now RHT 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 are counted as one. Whichever directionality is listed first is the type that is used in general in the traffic category.

Country

Road
Road
traffic

Road
Road
switched sides

Notes, exceptions

Afghanistan

RHT

Albania

RHT[80]

Algeria

RHT[81]

French Algeria
Algeria
until 1962.

Andorra

RHT[82]

Landlocked between France and Spain.

Angola

RHT[83]

1928

Portuguese colony until 1975.

Antigua and Barbuda

LHT[84]

British colony until 1958. Caribbean island.

Argentina

RHT

1945

The anniversary on 10 June is still observed each year as Día de la Seguridad Vial (road safety day).[85]

Armenia

RHT[86]

Australia

LHT

British colony before 1901. Island nation. Includes Norfolk Island.

Austria

RHT

1921–38

Azerbaijan

RHT

Bahamas

LHT[64]

British colony before 1973. Caribbean island.

Bahrain

RHT

1967

Former British protectorate. Switched to same side as neighbours.[87]

Bangladesh

LHT

Part of British India
India
before 1947.

Barbados

LHT

British colony before 1966. Caribbean archipelagic state.

Belgium

RHT

1899[88]

Belarus

RHT[89]

Belize

RHT

1961[1]

Former British colony. Switched to same side as neighbours.

Benin

RHT

Part of French West Africa
French West Africa
before 1960.

Bhutan

LHT

Under British protection before 1949.

Bolivia

RHT

Bosnia and Herzegovina

RHT

1918

Switched sides after the collapse of Austria-Hungary.

Botswana

LHT

Brazil

RHT

1928

Brunei

LHT

UK protection until 1984.

Bulgaria

RHT

Burkina Faso

RHT

Part of French West Africa
French West Africa
before 1958.

Burundi

RHT

Belgian colony before 1962.

Cambodia

RHT

Cameroon

RHT

1961

Canada

RHT

1920–24

Cape Verde

RHT

1928

Portuguese colony until 1975.

Central African Republic

RHT

French colony before 1960.

Chad

RHT

French colony before 1960.

Chile

RHT

1920s

China

RHT/LHT

1946

RHT in the Mainland, whereas Hong Kong and Macau
Macau
are LHT due to their colonial heritage.

Colombia

RHT

Comoros

RHT

French colony before 1975.

Republic of Congo

RHT

French colony before 1960.

Democratic Republic of Congo

RHT

Belgian colony before 1960.

Costa Rica

RHT

Côte d'Ivoire

RHT

Part of French West Africa
French West Africa
before 1960.

Croatia

RHT

Cuba

RHT

Cyprus

LHT

Under UK administration before 1960. Island nation.

Czech Republic

RHT

1939

Switched during the German occupation of Czechoslovakia.

Denmark

RHT

Includes Faroe Islands
Faroe Islands
and Greenland

Djibouti

RHT

Dominica

LHT

British colony before 1978. Caribbean island.

Dominican Republic

RHT

East Timor

LHT

1976

Portuguese colony until 1975. Switched to RHT with Portugal in 1928, under the Indonesian annexation, it was switched back to LHT in 1976.

Ecuador

RHT

Egypt

RHT

El Salvador

RHT

Equatorial Guinea

RHT

Eritrea

RHT

1964

Italian colony before 1942.

Estonia

RHT

Eswatini (Swaziland)

LHT

Former British colony. Continues to drive on the same side as neighboring countries.

Ethiopia

RHT

1964

Fiji

LHT

British colony before 1970. Island nation.

Finland

RHT

1858

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

Gambia

RHT

1965

British colony until 1965. Switched to RHT being surrounded by neighboring former French colonies.

Georgia

RHT

About 40% vehicles in Georgia are RHD due to the low cost of used cars imported from Japan.[90]

Germany

RHT[91]

Ghana

RHT

1974

British colony until 1957. Ghana switched to RHT in 1974,[92][93] a Twi language
Twi language
slogan was "Nifa, Nifa Enan" or "Right, Right, Fourth".[94] 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

Grenada

LHT

British colony before 1974. Caribbean island.

Guatemala

RHT

Guinea

RHT

Guinea-Bissau

RHT

1928

Portuguese colony until 1974.

Guyana

LHT

British colony until 1970. One of the few countries in continental Americas are in LHT.

Haiti

RHT

Holy See

RHT

Enclave of Rome.

Honduras

RHT

Hungary

RHT

1941

Originally LHT, like most of Austria-Hungary, but switched sides during the German occupation.

Iceland

RHT

1968

Iran

RHT

Iraq

RHT

India

LHT

Part of British India
India
before 1947.

Indonesia

LHT[95]

Roads and railways were built by the Dutch, with LHT for roads to conform to British and Japanese standards and RHT for railways. The Jakarta MRT
Jakarta MRT
and Palembang LRT
Palembang LRT
also use RHT.

Ireland

LHT

Part of the United Kingdom before 1922.

Israel

RHT

Italy

RHT

1924–26

Jamaica

LHT

British colony before 1962. Caribbean island.

Japan

LHT[96]

Jordan

RHT

Kazakhstan

RHT

Kenya

LHT[97]

Part of the British East Africa Protectorate
East Africa Protectorate
before 1963.

Kiribati

LHT

UK colony before 1979. Pacific islands.

North Korea

RHT

1946

Was LHT during the period of Japanese rule. Switched to RHT after Surrender of Japan.

South Korea

RHT

1946

Kosovo

RHT

Kuwait

RHT

Kyrgyzstan

RHT

In 2012, over 20,000 cheaper used RHD cars were imported from Japan.[98]

Laos

RHT

RHT implemented while part of French Indochina.

Latvia

RHT

Lebanon

RHT

French Mandate of Lebanon
French Mandate of Lebanon
before 1946.

Lesotho

LHT

Enclave of LHT South Africa.

Liberia

RHT

Libya

RHT

Italian Libya
Italian Libya
colony from 1911 to 1947.

Liechtenstein

RHT

Landlocked between Switzerland and Austria.

Lithuania

RHT

Luxembourg

RHT

Madagascar

RHT

Former French colony.

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
French West Africa
before 1960.

Malta

LHT

British colony before 1964. Island nation.

Marshall Islands

RHT

Was being under American control.

Mauritania

RHT

Part of French West Africa
French West Africa
before 1960. Mining roads between Fderîck and Zouérat
Zouérat
are LHT.[99]

Mauritius

LHT

British colony before 1968. Island nation.

Mexico

RHT

Micronesia

RHT

Was being under American control.

Moldova

RHT

Monaco

RHT

Was under French control.

Mongolia

RHT

Montenegro

RHT

Morocco

RHT

Former French colony.

Mozambique

LHT

Portuguese colony until 1975.

Myanmar

RHT

1970

Part of British India
India
until 1948. Switched to RHT in 1970.

Netherlands

RHT

1906[100]

Includes Curaçao, Sint Maarten, and Aruba

Namibia

LHT

1918

Administered by South Africa 1920-1990.

Nauru

LHT

1918

Administered by Australia, New Zealand
New Zealand
and the United Kingdom until 1968. Island nation.

Nepal

LHT

Lost the Anglo-Nepalese War with British India
India
and shares land border with LHT India.

New Zealand

LHT[101]

British colony before 1947. Pacific island, including territories Niue and Cook Islands

Nicaragua

RHT

Niger

RHT

Part of French West Africa
French West Africa
before 1958.

Nigeria

RHT

1972

British colony until 1960. Switched to RHT being surrounded by neighboring former French colonies.

North Macedonia

RHT

Norway

RHT

Oman

RHT[102]

Pakistan

LHT

Part of British India
India
before 1947.

Palau

RHT

Palestinian territories

RHT

Panama

RHT

1943

Papua New Guinea

LHT

After Australia
Australia
occupied German New Guinea
German New Guinea
during World War I, switched to LHT.

Paraguay

RHT

1945

Peru

RHT

Philippines

RHT

1946[52]

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

Portugal

RHT[95]

1928

Colonies Goa, Macau
Macau
and Mozambique, which had land borders with LHT countries, did not switch and continue to drive on the left.[103] The Porto Metro
Porto Metro
uses RHT.

Qatar

RHT

Former British protectorate. Switched to same side as neighbours.

Romania

RHT

1919

Parts of Romania formerly belonged to Austria-Hungary
Austria-Hungary
were LHT until 1919.

Russia

RHT

In the Russian Far East
Russian Far East
RHD vehicles are common due to the import of used cars from nearby Japan.[104] Railway between Moscow and Ryazan, Sormovskaya line
Sormovskaya line
in Nizhny Novgorod Metro
Nizhny Novgorod Metro
and Moskva River cable car use LHT.

Rwanda

RHT[26]

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
New Zealand
and Japan.[95]

San Marino

RHT

Enclaved state surrounded by Italy.

São Tomé and Príncipe

RHT

1928

Portuguese colony until 1975.

Saudi Arabia

RHT

1942

Senegal

RHT

Part of French West Africa
French West Africa
before 1960.

Serbia

RHT

Vojvodina
Vojvodina
was LHT while part of Austria-Hungary.

Seychelles

LHT

British colony before 1976. Island nation.

Sierra Leone

RHT

1971[105]

British colony unitl 1961. Switched to RHT being surrounded by neighboring former French colonies. Banned the importation of RHD vehicles in 2013.[106]

Singapore

LHT

British colony until 1963 and was part of Malaysia until 1965.

Slovakia

RHT

1939–41

Switched during the German occupation of Czechoslovakia.

Slovenia

RHT

Solomon Islands

LHT

British colony before 1975. Island nation.

Somalia

RHT

The former British Somaliland
British Somaliland
had LHT until it formed a union with the former Italian Somaliland
Italian Somaliland
which had RHT.

South Africa

LHT[107][108]

British colony before 1909.

South Sudan

RHT

1973

Former part of Anglo-Egyptian Sudan.

Spain

RHT

1924

Up to the 1920s Barcelona
Barcelona
was RHT, and Madrid
Madrid
was LHT until 1924. The Madrid
Madrid
Metro still uses LHT.

Sri Lanka

LHT

British Ceylon
British Ceylon
1815-1948.

Sudan

RHT

1973

Suriname

LHT

1920s

Dutch colony until 1975. One of the few countries in continental Americas are in LHT.

Sweden

RHT

1967 (3 September)

The day of the switch was known as Dagen H. Most passenger cars were already LHD.

Switzerland

RHT

Syria

RHT

Was under French and Italian control.

Taiwan

RHT

1946

Was LHT during the period of Japanese rule. The government of the Republic of China changed Taiwan
Taiwan
to RHT in 1946 along with the rest of China.[109]

Tajikistan

RHT

Tanzania

LHT

Part of the British East Africa Protectorate
East Africa Protectorate
until 1961.

Thailand

LHT[95]

One of the few LHT countries not a former British colony. Shares long land border with RHT Laos and Cambodia.

Togo

RHT

Tonga

LHT

British protectorate before 1970. Polynesian island nation.

Trinidad and Tobago

LHT[110]

British colony before 1962. Caribbean island.

Tunisia

RHT

French RHT was enforced in the French protectorate of Tunisia
Tunisia
from 1881.

Turkey

RHT

1920s

Turkmenistan

RHT

Tuvalu

LHT

British colony before 1974. Island nation.

Uganda

LHT

British Uganda Protectorate 1894-1962.

Ukraine

RHT

1922[17]

United Arab Emirates

RHT

Former British protectorate. Switched to same side as neighbours.

United Kingdom

LHT/RHT

1929 (in Gibraltar)

Includes Crown dependencies
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
Tristan da Cunha
are all LHT. Gibraltar
Gibraltar
has been RHT since 1929 because of its land border with Spain.[111] The British Indian Ocean Territory is the only other overseas territory driving on the right. The Channel Islands
Channel Islands
( Jersey
Jersey
and Guernsey) drove on the right under German occupation until their liberation in 1945.[112]

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

Became LHT in 1918, but as in some other countries in South America, changed to RHT on 2 September 1945.[113] A speed limit of 30 km/h (19 mph) was observed until 30 September for safety.

Uzbekistan

RHT

Vanuatu

RHT[114]

Co-administrated under France and United Kingdom until 1980.

Venezuela

RHT

Vietnam

RHT

Became RHT as French Indochina. The Long Bien Bridge
Long Bien Bridge
uses LHT.

Western Sahara

RHT

Occupied by Spain
Spain
until the late 1900s.

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.[115] North Yemen
North Yemen
was already RHT.

Zambia

LHT

British colony before 1964.

Zimbabwe

LHT

British colony before 1965.

Gallery[edit]

Right-hand traffic on the A2 in Germany

Left-hand traffic on the M25 motorway
M25 motorway
in the UK

Hong Kong drives on the left.

Left-hand traffic in Vienna, Austria circa 1930.

Gibraltar
Gibraltar
has been RHT since 1929.

Sign reminding motorists to drive on the left in Ireland.

A road sign in the British county of Kent
Kent
placed on the right-hand side of the road.

Change of traffic directions at the Thai–Lao Friendship Bridge

See also[edit] Hook turn Traffic-light signalling and operation World Forum for Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations References[edit]

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vteStreets and roadwaysTypes of roadLimited-access Freeway / Motorway Dual carriageway / Divided highway / Expressway Elevated highway By country Australia Brazil Canada China Croatia Czech Republic Germany Greece Hong Kong India Ireland Italy Pakistan Portugal Spain Taiwan United Kingdom United States Main roads Arterial road Collector road County highway Express-collector setup Farm-to-market road Highway Link road Two-lane expressway 2+1 road 2+2 road Parkway Ring road Super two Trunk road Highway
Highway
systems by country Local roads Alley Backroad Bicycle boulevard Boulevard Country lane Dead end Driveway Frontage road Green lane Main street Primitive road Road Side road Single carriageway Single-track road Street Sunken lane Other terms Channelization Concurrency Detour Hierarchy of roads Private highway Route number Special
Special
route Business route Street
Street
hierarchy Toll road Road
Road
junctionsInterchanges.mw-parser-output .nobold font-weight:normal (grade-separated) Cloverleaf Diamond Free-flow Directional T Diverging diamond Parclo Raindrop Roundabout Single-point urban (SPUI) Stack Three-level diamond Trumpet Intersections(at-grade) 3-way junction Bowtie Box junction Continuous flow Hook turn Jughandle Michigan left Offset T-intersection Protected intersection Quadrant roadway Right-in/right-out
Right-in/right-out
(RIRO) Roundabout Seagull intersection Split intersection Superstreet Texas U-turn Traffic
Traffic
circle Turnaround Surfaces Asphalt concrete Bioasphalt Brick Chipseal Cobblestone Concrete Reinforced concrete Corduroy Crocodile cracking Crushed stone Diamond grinding of pavement Dirt Full depth recycling Glassphalt Gravel Ice Macadam Pavement milling Permeable Plank Rubberized asphalt Sealcoat Sett Stamped asphalt Tarmac Texture Road
Road
safety factors Road
Road
and environment Aquaplaning Black ice Bleeding Crosswind Dead Man's Curve Expansion joint Fog Ford Hairpin turn Level crossing Manhole cover Oil spill Oversize load Pothole Road
Road
debris Road
Road
slipperiness Road
Road
train Roadkill Rockfall Rut Speed bump Storm drain Washboarding Washout Whiteout Snowsquall Human factors Driver's education Driving under the influence Road
Road
rage Single-vehicle crash Sleep-deprived driving Vehicles Automotive safety Seat belts Risk compensation (road transport) Space and time allocation Barrier transfer machine Bicycle lane Climbing lane Complete streets Contraflow lane Contraflow lane
Contraflow lane
reversal High-occupancy toll lane High-occupancy vehicle lane Lane Living street Managed lane Median / Central reservation Motorcycle lane Passing lane Pedestrian crossing Pedestrian zone Refuge island Reversible lane Road
Road
diet Road
Road
verge Runaway truck ramp Shared space Sidewalk / Pavement Shoulder Street
Street
running railway Traffic
Traffic
calming Traffic
Traffic
directionality Traffic
Traffic
island Traffic
Traffic
lanes Traffic
Traffic
signal preemption Unused highway Wide outside lane Woonerf Demarcation Bollard Botts' dots Cable barrier Cat's eye (road) Concrete
Concrete
step barrier Constant-slope barrier Curb F-Shape barrier Guard rail Jersey
Jersey
barrier Kassel kerb Noise barrier Raised pavement marker Road
Road
surface marking Rumble strip Traffic
Traffic
barrier Traffic
Traffic
cone Structures Bridge Causeway Overpass / Flyover Underpass / Tunnel

Glossary of road transport terms Road
Road
t

.