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Left Or Right Side Of The Road?

How The French Revolution influenced the road riding system


What's going on?

It is no surprise to people about the existence of the left and right-hand drive adaptation around the world. Many still wonder about their differences and reasons for existence. In ancient times, knights rode on the left side of the road because they were mostly right-handed and would wield their swords on their right hand. They would also mount on their horses from the left side of the road to avoid tangling swords with other knights by mistake and being hit by oncoming traffic. Therefore, the modern equivalent of this idea would be the right-hand drive.


The French Revolution of 1789 introduced riding on the right side of the road but previously, aristocrats used to travel on the left and forced peasants to travel on the right side of the road. That was until the storming of the Bastille where aristocrats preferred to keep a low profile, and hence they joined the peasants on the right. Then in 1794, France officially travels on the right side of the road, and it has become commonly known today as the left-hand drive.


Napoleon Bonaparte was responsible for expanding this new law to whichever country that they had influence over – such as Spain, Germany, and Italy. On the other hand, countries under British influence such as Malaysia, Japan, and Australia would follow their law of the right-hand drive. In short, two large empires have managed to shape the way we travel on a familiar road system.


What’s the Reason Behind Right-Hand Driving in Some Countries?