Why is Europe going right

Traffic history

Chronology right-left

Unfortunately, our ancestors never kept a logbook. Otherwise we would perhaps know why part of the automotive world drives on the right and the other on the left. What we can say more or less precisely: There are around 29 million kilometers of roads around the world (source: World Fact Book 2000). Eight million is driven on the left and 21 million on the right. But how did the majority get on the right track? Timeline.

• Since we learned to walk upright, we have been mostly right-handed. So when the Neanderthal man is walking in his dugout canoe on the Düssel, it is probably on the right side. The water is shallower there and it was easier for him to push himself off the bank. On the waterways of this world today there is only right-hand traffic. • The migrants should have typed on the left side of the street, because there they could greet those returning with their right hand. Raising your hand also has an origin in signaling the other person: Hey, I'm unarmed, I'm not up to anything bad.

• In such a case, the left tour had the further advantage that you could quickly pull the sword hanging on the left with the right and fry your opponent quickly. • When we learned to ride, we stayed on the left side of the road. From there (and still is) saddled and mounted, on the other side the knight would have piked his horse in the stomach with a sword or saber. • After the wheel was invented, we still stayed on the left. Hauliers hitched donkeys, oxen or horses to their carts, which they held on the bridle with their right hand, and walked along the side of the road so that oncoming traffic would not run over their toes.

• A brief turning point came with the increase in performance. Whoever hitched four or more horses to his express coach sat on the last horse on the left so that he could accelerate more comfortably with the whip. In order to have a better view of the way, he mostly drove on the right side of the road. • At some point the driver's seat was invented. So that the whip could not hit a passenger, the postilion sat on the right again - argument for driving in the left lane.

Last swing in Sweden

The total legal uncertainty drove us out of Napoleon. The Robespierre government prescribed right-hand traffic, and horse-drawn carts dominated at that time. Napoleon took over the right-hand tour for his campaigns, right-hand traffic was introduced in all countries conquered by France. After the little general's retreat, all countries stayed with them, only the Danube monarchy swayed back.

Which in turn was not changed until 1938 by a self-appointed general. A year later, Hungary and Czechoslovakia were also forced to switch sides. In the last century, Italy, Yugoslavia and parts of Poland (1920s) left the left lane in Europe. Luxembourg and Portugal were added in the 30s, and Iceland in the 60s. The last turnaround was Sweden: the turnaround was only completed there in 1967, although a survey showed that over 80 percent of the population were against it. But there were just too many accidents at the already open and imprecise borders with Norway.

In any case, some changes had very strange consequences. The introduction of legal traffic in Nova Scotia (Canada) in 1923 is said to have led to a drop in the price of beef. The stubborn draft oxen simply couldn't be got across the street and had to be slaughtered. In Cambodia, a law passed two years ago that all right-hand drive vehicles should be converted. If not, it was confiscated. Reason: Around 80 percent were smuggled or stolen cars from Thailand.

Where do people still drive on the left today?

Yes, who are the ghost drivers in automobiles? The English, who still have the right-hand wheel today, or we left-wing continental Europeans? It is clear that the rights have prevailed. Only in 61 of the around 220 countries around the world are driving on the left. These include a lot of dwarf states, such as the Caribbean islands. But also the Indian subcontinent with meanwhile a billion people:

• Anguilla • Antigua • Australia • Bahamas • Bangladesh • Barbados • Bermuda • Bhutan • Botswana • Brunei • Great Britain • Guyana • Hong Kong • India • Indonesia • Ireland • Jamaica • Japan • Kenya • Lesotho • Cayman Islands • Dominica • Falkland Islands • Fiji Islands • Gilbert Islands • Grenada • Malawi • Malaysia Malta • Mauritius • Monserrat • Mozambique • Namibia • Nepal • New Zealand • Pakistan • Papua New Guinea • Solomon Islands • Zambia • Sarawak • Seychelles • Zimbabwe • Singapore Somalia Sri Lanka • St Christopher • St. Lucia • St. Vincent • South Africa • Suriname • Swaziland • Tanzania • Thailand • Tonga Islands • Transkei • Trinidad / Tobago • Tuvalu • Uganda • Venda • Virgin Islands • Cyprus