In ancient times, there was a “keep-left” rule that most civilizations seemed to follow. Going as far back as the Roman Empire and well into the middle ages, most wagons and horse-drawn carriages kept on the left side of the road. Despite the extensive history of driving on the left, modern society has taken a shift, and 166 countries now drive on the right, compared to just 74 that continue to adhere to the keep-left rule.
There has also been some research into whether driving on one side or the other contributes to more accidents. According to statistics, countries that drive on the right experience more fatal car crashes. United States, for example, has 111 road fatalities for every 100 million miles driven. Left-handed driving countries like Australia, on the other hand, see a much fewer share of auto-related deaths at just 50. Likewise, the UK, another nation that drives on the left, experiences even fewer fatal collisions at just 38.
It would be premature, however, to assume that driving on the right is somehow inherently more dangerous. There are multiple factors that can lead to a collision. Common causes include intoxication, texting, fatigue and poor visibility. Furthermore, studies also show that countries that drive on the right also have a greater percentage of motorists that engage in dangerous driving habits, such as cell phone use.
If there is any conclusion to be derived from the data, it is that auto collisions occur for a number of reasons, and more often than not, the cause has something to do with driver negligence, such as reaching for the cell phone or grabbing something from the glove compartment. Regardless of which side of the road you drive, the take-home message is the same: always be a cautious driver.
The Roadside Deabte