Which side of the road is the “right” side?

Considering a trip to the UK to immerse yourself in the country’s long and prosperous automotive history? Lucas Industries aside, there’s a lot to like (hey, it doesn’t take six degrees of separation to find someone who’s been bitten by the Prince of Darkness). With all that the UK has to offer, you may wonder why the Brits insist on driving on the wrong side of the road—or the correct side, depending on your point of view.

Driving on the left—like they do in Great Britain, Ireland, and Scotland, and most British colonies—made sense hundreds of years ago. According to worldstandards.eu, swordsmen rode their horses on the left side in order to fend off adversaries with their right (usually-dominant) hand. That logic prevailed throughout Europe and into the New World.

The left-side tradition began to change in the U.S. in the late 1700s when farmers hauling heavy equipment behind a team of horses would sit behind the left rear horse so they could lash the entire team with their right hand. To better see oncoming traffic, the driver would move the wagon from the left side of the road to the right, and before long, single riders followed suit.