Sunday, February 20, 2005

The Wrong Side

David bought his dad a new car..

and so now i have his dad's old car to practise driving on the wrong side of the road with. I have only driven manual transmission ( as opposed to automatic ) cars and it freaks me out that when i put the car into D, it goes without my even stepping on the gas...AND there is NO clutch pedal! PLUS, when I try to put the blinker on, because everything is on the wrong side, I end up shifting gears.

About a quarter of the world drives on the left, and the countries that do are mostly old British colonies.
In the past, almost everybody travelled on the left side of the road because that was the most sensible option for feudal, violent societies. Since most people are right-handed, swordsmen preferred to keep to the left in order to have their right arm nearer to an opponent and their scabbard further from him. Moreover, it reduced the chance of the scabbard (worn on the left) hitting other people.

Furthermore, a right-handed person finds it easier to mount a horse from the left side of the horse, and it would be very difficult to do otherwise if wearing a sword (which would be worn on the left). It is safer to mount and dismount towards the side of the road, rather than in the middle of traffic, so if one mounts on the left, then the horse should be ridden on the left side of the road.

In the late 1700s, however, teamsters in France and the United States began hauling farm products in big wagons pulled by several pairs of horses. These wagons had no driver's seat; instead the driver sat on the left rear horse, so he could keep his right arm free to lash the team. Since he was sitting on the left, he naturally wanted everybody to pass on the left so he could look down and make sure he kept clear of the oncoming wagon’s wheels. Therefore he kept to the right side of the road.

In addition, the French Revolution of 1789 gave a huge impetus to right-hand travel in Europe. The fact is, before the Revolution, the aristocracy travelled on the left of the road, forcing the peasantry over to the right, but after the storming of the Bastille and the subsequent events, aristocrats preferred to keep a low profile and joined the peasants on the right.


Desmond Goh said... I understand, thanks for the article. If the quarter of the world could change to drive on the right side, that would make driving easier whenever one travels overseas.

Monica said...

I've never driven a manual car!!! or on the left

Alot of people (lots of men) prefer manual but on Long Island In NY its just a pain, you spend most of your time just sitting in stopped traffic, so whats the point!

KEF said...

I have no problem driving sticks and automatic cars.

I doubt it'll be hard to drive on the other side of the road :)

Letti girl, be adventorous :) I'm sure you'll make a good mother soon :))))

Raven the Pagan said...

LMAO - It's got to be rough driving on the wrong side for you. I'm going to be visiting London this summer. Although I could take my own car, I'm not going to do it. Figured I save the costs of a traffic accident. LOL

K. Restoule said...

I'm planing to visit the UK one day just to scream "Your driving on the wrong side of the road Dammit"

Animesh said...

I just read an article about this in Reader's Digest yesterday. It blames the UK for singlehandedly causing this distinction in the world :)

We drive on the left in India and yes, I prefer manual too :)

uao said...

Gosh, I had wondered about that for years and years. Good post!

Agnes said...

I started driving after I came to the States and I started with an automatic car. I think it's just a matter of habit ... once you've got used to it, you'll be fine. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

Because of the really steep hills in San Francisco, Raven didn't want to keep my VW 5-speed. We ended up selling it. I miss my manual. but I do get to drive my BIL's car when I go home and I get my fix.


<"3 )~ said...

I have NEVER driven a manual, but I have traveled all over Europe -- it amazed me that my bus driver knew to switch which side of the road he drove on, according to which country we were in!

Good luck Letti!

<"3 )~

lysdndsd said...

... and that's why I never got a car. No wait, I don't have my driving license either!!!

Mysti said...

Wow. Who knew? As for your driving lessons, good luck!

anne berit said...

Go on Letti!
It's not as hard after some practice, I promise :D I've only driven on the left side (my wrong) some years ago when I was on visit in South Africa. It was scary at first, but I got used to it after a while. You should have seen my first trip after gotten home to Norway ;)
As for atomatic gear, I agree they are no fun!! Even though I has a car with automatic gear I still miss the clotch and manual gear :( But it easy to drive once you get used to it....
This got long ;D
Well, good luck!!

Mr_Tom said...

I don't which side matters, once you're used to it.

Manual's give you more control though, but most modern automatics also give close control. The older ones didn't.

I'd prefer a manual, but then, I still have to pass my test! :D

*~*Holly*~* said...

Hey! That is very interesting. I would find it very difficult to drive on the left side of the road.

I am talking to Allen now, so hopefully he'll tell me that he can go to the prom with me. Wish me luck!

*~*God Bless*~*

I.M. Dedd said...

where did you get that map?

I like the new photo, too. :}

Charone said...

Hey, I like your new picture! Regarding the car, look at it this way. It's much easier to go from stick to automatic than from automatic to stick - and that goes double for switching sides of the road!

Jin said...

I drove a manual only once - Husband has never let me forget it. I simply could NOT get the hang of it - we ended up bickering the entire time. Not fun!

Good luck with re-learning to drive! And thanks so much for the link!! :)

Nyx said...

Driving on the left just feels so totally right, I think I would freak if I found myself in the US or Europe. And as to manual vs auto, gotta be a manual. More control and more pep up hills - I get bored in an automatic, what do you do if you're not busy changing gears?