Why Do Americans Drive

Why Do Americans Drive on the Right and the UK Drives on the Left?. Alright, let’s dive into this curious case of driving habits and road rules. Here’s the scoop on why Americans are on one side of the road and Brits are on the other.

Back to the Roots: The Conestoga Wagon

So, picture this: I’m out in rural Pennsylvania, hunting for answers about why we drive the way we do. I stumbled upon a historical society, and there it was – a Conestoga wagon. Turns out, these big wagons were the OGs of American transportation, shuttling goods across the frontier. The driver sat on the left, which put the wagon to the right. That set the stage for driving on the right side of the road.

The Birth of Highways

Fast forward to the late 1700s when America’s first major highway, the Philadelphia and Lancaster Turnpike Road, came into play. It was written in the rulebook that everyone had to stick to the right side of the road – just like the Conestoga wagons did.

Henry Ford’s Not the Real MVP

Sure, Henry Ford gets a lot of credit for standardizing traffic on the right, but that’s not entirely accurate. Turns out, driving on the right side was already pretty much the norm way before cars came into the picture.

Across the Pond: Napoleon’s Influence

Now, let’s hop over to Europe. Why does the UK drive on the left when most of Europe drives on the right? Blame it on the French, or more specifically, Napoleon. Back in the late 1700s, the French government decided to shake things up and mandate driving on the right side of the road. It was a move to squash class distinctions and streamline traffic.

Britain’s Rebel Move

But, Britain wasn’t about to follow the French trend. They stuck to their guns – or rather, their left-hand drive. Historians think it’s because Britain had more individual horse riders and small carriages, who preferred to stay to the left for better visibility and safety.

The Switcheroo in Sweden

As for Sweden, they drove on the left until 1967 when they made the leap to driving on the right. That must’ve been a wild transition!

Watch Your Step: Driving Hazards

Switching sides isn’t all rainbows and butterflies. There have been some serious crashes due to the change in driving habits. AAA recommends taking extra precautions, like staying extra focused and maybe even talking to yourself to keep your attention sharp.

Tips for the Road

If you’re ever driving in a country with the opposite driving rules, AAA suggests turning off the radio to minimize distractions. Also, having a passenger along can be a big help – trust me, I’ve been there, scaring my co-pilot occasionally.

So, there you have it – the curious case of why we drive on the right or left. It’s a mix of history, tradition, and a dash of rebellion.