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Countries that Drive on the Left

Countries that Drive on the Left
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In a world of approximately 190 countries, the divide on road systems may seem almost trivial. Yet, an estimated 30% of countries observe the Left-hand Traffic (LHT) system, signifying a significant portion of the global populace, roughly 35%, driving on the left side of their roads. This largely unexpected quirk in the global traffic system has its roots in history and colonial legacy and continues to be a fascinating aspect of cultural and societal norms across the world.

With deep-rooted influences from British colonial rule, most LHT countries were either British colonies or still part of the British Commonwealth. Cultural and historical elements have firmly entwined this system into the societal fabric of these countries, making it a distinct, identifying factor of their national image.

  • Post-colonial influences are evident in the spread of LHT countries beyond geographic proximity, spanning across continents from Australia in the Pacific to Jamaica in the Caribbean, and from Ireland in Europe to South Africa in Africa.
  • Smaller island nations globally, including several in the Pacific like Fiji, Samoa, and Tonga, along with Caribbean countries like the Bahamas, Barbados, and Dominica, observe LHT.
  • Interestingly, countries not traditionally under British rule, like Japan and Thailand, also follow LHT, adding another layer of complexity to the historical interpretation of the trend.
  • LHT is prevalent in several African nations, from Mozambique and Zambia in the southeast to Lesotho and Eswatini in the south; these reflect the British colonial influence that stretches across the continent.

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