PR, Films and Fantasies

It’s like…the wrong way

Posted on: February 11, 2010

Or not?

The first thing that outsiders notice about England is that everything here goes the wrong way. I know UK is the official inventor of the automobile, but why in the world would you drive on the left? The problem is that, a simple daily activity like driving, leads to a particular way in which things work. In the UK the way you enter and go out of a room, the way you walk on the sidewalks, use stairs and elevators, go through revolving doors is different, is opposite. The world itself seems to go… the wrong way.

Going back to traffic, “this basic rule eases traffic flow and reduces the risk of head-on collisions.” (really????) So, who is doing it right after all?

Archeologist proved that, in some parts of the Empire, the Romans used to “drive” their horses and carts on the left side. Also, that habit was kept during Medieval times as people believe the right hand could be used to greet people along the way, so it should be situated towards the possible passer-by. However, in the 1700, things started to change. In the US, wagons pulled by several horses were directed from their left side, leading to a change in the way the roads were used. One other major revolution came with Napoleon who was left-handed and so, commanded all his troops to march on the right so he could keep his sword between himself and his opponents. Over time, the parts of the world connected to the British empire adopted their system, while the French-related ones switched to the other side. Also, many countries did it in order to “fit in” with their neighbors, as it increased the safety of cross-border traffic. In conclusion, “about 72% of the world’s total road distance carries traffic on the right, and 28% on the left.” (or that’s what Wikipedia states)

The funny part is “China is the only country in which the bulk of it drives on the right, while the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau drive on the left.” Could that be a tactic to keep traffic at a low level in the big city?

It is definitely a matter of choice at a national level, but could you imagine, you British citizen, how it would be to change the way your world goes round? Putting aside the idea of cultural distinction (this is one of the things that makes UK different, and also why many hate it 🙂 ), could such a change be possible in the days of drive!drive!drive! ?

I’ll end this with a bit of advice for newcomers 🙂


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