As you may already know, in Britain people drive on the left and not on the right like in the rest of Europe.
Many of my French students often mock this difference, suggesting that we British drive on the left simply in order to be different from our European neighbours.
The truth is that most civilisations have favoured travelling on the left side of the road, and that driving on the right is a relatively modern phenomenon. As most people are right-handed, passing on the left made it easier, when on horse-back, to offer one’s hand in greeting or to draw a sword from one’s left side.
During the twentieth century, some countries made the decision to change from driving on the left to driving on the right so that crossing into neighbouring countries would be easier. The last country in Europe to do so was Iceland in 1968. Britain, being an island, never saw the need to do such a thing, and with the number of cars on the road today it would be impossible.
I currently have a right-hand-drive car, and don’t have problems driving it in France, although passing through motorway toll stations is not easy when I’m on my own.
Britain is not the only country to drive on the left. Many of my African visitors will be aware that former British colonies, like Kenya, still drive on the left. Here is a list of countries that still keep to the left:
Antigua and Barbuda
Cocos (Keeling) Islands
Hong Kong, China
Isle of Man
Papua New Guinea
Saint Kitts and Nevis
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Trinidad and Tobago
Turks and Caicos Islands
British Virgin Islands
U.S. Virgin Islands