Who drives on the wrong side of the road?

Who drives on the wrong side of the road? Actually, just seeing a map reflected the countries where they drive on the right, as in Spain, or to the left, as in England, we can get an idea of the customs in driving in different countries.

Who Drives on the Wrong Side of the Road?Photo Wikimedia Benjamin D. Esham

Looking at the map, it’s clear that driving on the right is far and away the most common choice. 65% of the world’d people live in countries that drive on the right. Combined theses countries account for 90% of global miles driven.

Here are just a more observations:

  • The world’s most populous country (China) drives on the right.
  • The world’s two largest economies (United States and China) both drive on the right.
  • The world’s five largest countries by area (Russia, Canada, China, United States and Brazil) all drive on the right.

As for those who drive on the left:

  • The most populous is India, which is set overtake China as the world’s largest from 2028.
  • The largest economy is Japan, the 3rd largest in the world.
  • The largest by area is Australia, which while only the 6th largest, is also a continent.
  • A majority of island nations drive on the left.

For the most part, those that drive on the left are either former British colonies or countries with strong economic ties with former British colonies. The major exception being Japan.

Three major regions stand out:

  • Oceania including Indonesia where Australia remains the largest economy.
  • The southern part of Africa where South Africa is the dominant economic power.
  • The Indian subcontinent which of course was a British colony.

Guyana (former British colony) and Suriname (former Dutch colony) are the two countries in South America that still drive on the left.

Interestingly, in Europe only Cyprus, Ireland, Malta and the UK still drive on the left. So, while Britain’s former colonies can often shape what side of the road people drive on, Britain itself can’t do the same with most of its closest neighbours.

Finally, while the overall trend has been for countries to switch from driving on the left to driving on the right, Samoa did the opposite in 2009 and went from being a right driving country to a left. Have any thoughts about driving on the left vs driving on the right?

Source — brilliantmaps


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