Why Do Some Countries Have People Drive on the Left and Others on the Right? (+Contest Winners)

*Just an addendum to one of the tangents I forgot to mention- pulling up like crazy in a plane while rapidly hurtling towards the ground is a phenomenal way to ensure the wings of the plane cease to remain attached to it. 😉

Driving MapIn this episode of The Brain Food Show, we start off looking at the little known much more massive big brother to the Roman Colosseum and the astounding number of people it held.

Next up, we have a brief message from our sponsor, Skillshare. Skillshare is an online learning community with thousands of amazing classes covering dozens of creative and entrepreneurial skills. You can take classes in everything from photography and creative writing to design, productivity, and more. Join the millions of students already learning on Skillshare today, and if you use our link here: https://www.skillshare.com/Brainfood you not only help keep this show going, but also get 2 free months of Premium Membership.

Moving on to the main topic, we are looking at how it came to be that some countries have their populaces drive on the left while others choose the keep right model. In the Bonus Facts, we look at some interesting things about the keep left and keep right rules with regards to boats, airplanes and helicopters.

On another note, if you could do us a huge favor and rate and review this show in whatever podcasting platform you’re using (including hopefully giving us some feedback related to the new format), we would be extremely grateful. Thanks!

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  • Im British, my grandmother was forced to be right handed circa 1930s (she was born in the 20s).

    You could be caned for using your left hand. Supposedly it was a sign of the devil (or so she told me is where it originated).

  • My Father was born in the 1930s and too was beaten regularly at school for being left -handed, and as a consequence he developed a stutter, but on a positive note for him, he was able to play squash and tennis with both hands, therefore impossible to beat!

  • I’m from the Netherlands. The stickers on the headlights are still a thing if you switch from rightside to leftside, at least if you don’t have a car where you can adjust the lights. Took my Dutch car to Scotland for a week.

  • The way I understood most of Europe drives to the right side of the road like the United States as opposed to the UK and all the rest of the British Commonwealth. As I understand it Europe, when Napoleon because the master of most of that continent having conquered all those nations on the mainland of Europe he made an edict for everyone to drive on the right side of the road merely as a way to thumb his nose at the United Kingdom. The United States when it came into being made the same decision essentially for the same reason a way to distance itself from any association with the United Kingdom.

  • Love your show Simon and Daven thank you : )

  • Hey!
    Even in India, I am in my 30s and I was “corrected” to right from left in first grade. I do most of the things with my right hand but when I have to eat my knife and fork are on the opposite hand than the other people. I speculate that it still happens. :/

  • One of the biggest advantages of having steering wheel on the opposite side of the side you drive on is for overtaking! I think the reason you missed this is because you don’t often drive on two-lane roads with traffic going in either direction. In America, you are usually separated from cars going in the opposite direction.

    When you’re trying to pull out a bit to see if you can overtake, it’s much easier if you’re nearer the center of the road. I’m from The Bahamas—former colony and part of the Commonwealth— and we drive on the left. The steering wheel issue comes up a lot because we often buy American cars and left-hand-drive cars can be a real pain and even dangerous on busy, narrow roads.

    Incidentally, the only time I have trouble driving in America is in parking lots or small two-way roads where I default to left.