At first sight, you may think that only a handful of countries drive on the left-hand side of the road. It may surprise you to hear that there are over 60 countries that drive on the left! That’s roughly a third of all countries in the world!
It’s crucial to know what side of the road to drive on, especially if you’re visiting a country for the first time. Driving “on the wrong side of the road” may seem a little scary at first but you should be able to get the hang of it fairly quickly.
A quick tip: If you’ve never driven on the left side of the road before, you may want to get an automatic instead of a manual car.
These countries are scattered all across the planet.
First of all, let’s understand why nearly a third of all countries in the world drive on the left side of the road. It’s time for a quick history lesson.
Let’s go back a few hundred years, way before cars were even a thing and people used horses as a primary source of transportation. Back then, horse riders in the UK would ride on the left-hand side of the road. This meant that their right hand was unobstructed. That way, they could easily access their swords and always had a free hand to greet passersby.
In America, on the other hand, a wagon led by two horses was a very popular setup. Riders would sit on the horse on the left-hand side, leaving their right hand free to whip the other horse when necessary. As the wagon was usually pulled by two horses, riding on the right-hand side of the road provided better visibility.
The trends carried over when people started switching from horse-drawn carriages to cars. As a result, most countries influenced by the UK still drive on the left-hand side of the road to this day. Roughly 70% of the world drives on the right.
Without further ado, let’s jump into the list of countries!
A total of 15 countries in Africa have traffic on the left side of the road. These include the well-known tourist hotspots, such as Mauritius, Seychelles, Tanzania, Kenya, and South Africa. Keep this in mind when renting a car there.
As previously mentioned, there aren’t any countries that drive on the left in North America. However, the same cannot be said about the Caribbean. In fact, 19 countries in Central and South America drive on the left side of the road. You may be surprised to hear that this includes the US Virgin Islands!
15 countries in Asia drive on the left side of the road. If you’re planning to go to Bali, drive across Malaysia, rent a car in Singapore, or any of the other countries listed below, be ready to drive on the left. The traffic culture may seem a little chaotic in some Asian countries!
4 European countries have traffic on the left-hand side of the road. Europe is the continent with the fewest amount of countries with left-hand side traffic. Aside from Antarctica and North America that don’t have any, that is.
Last, but certainly not least, is Oceania. Most travelers know that Australia and New Zealand both drive on the left. However, a whopping 14 countries on this continent drive on the left-hand side of the road.
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