The answer to why traffic flows on the left in England is based on historical background and cultural heritage. In addition to the UK’s adoption of this practice, some other English-speaking countries have also adopted this practice and left-hand traffic continues today.
What is left-hand traffic flow?
Traffic flow on the left is traffic flow from the left, not the right. This is not common in many countries and is generally practiced in English speaking countries such as the UK. In this system, motorists enter traffic in the left lane and stay on the left.
Left-wing traffic flow often has historical origins. In countries such as England, horse-drawn carriages were driven on the left in the 18th century. This was a custom to prevent the swords of the horses from colliding with each other. Later, when motor vehicles were invented, the driver’s seat was again on the left side. The steering wheels of the first motor vehicles were located to the left of the driver. Therefore, left-hand traffic is still practiced in the UK and some other English-speaking countries.
Benefits of left-hand traffic flow include better driver visibility and a more comfortable driving experience. Motorists can maneuver better, especially at intersections and curves with four-way traffic. However, one of the reasons that left-hand traffic is not implemented in other countries is that it is difficult for drivers to change their habits.
As for left-hand traffic, tourists and foreign drivers should change their habits and learn the rules before driving in the UK. Also, the rules and regulations of UK traffic flow from the left, not the right, may differ from other countries, so it’s important for foreign drivers to be aware of these rules.
Why does left-hand traffic flow in the UK?
The answer to the question of why traffic in England comes from the left is based on historical background. While traveling by horse-drawn carriages in England in the 18th century, drivers began using the lane on the left to avoid the horses’ swords colliding with each other. This practice continued with the invention of motor vehicles and the driver’s side is still on the left.
Another reason is that motorists of some English-speaking countries, such as the UK, assume a left-hand traffic flow due to the operation of the steering wheel on the left. Since most of these countries were part of the British Empire, they adopted the rules and practices that they inherited from Britain.
One of the other benefits of left-hand traffic in the UK is also that drivers can maneuver better. By staying on the left, motorists have a better view and can pass more easily than other vehicles, especially at intersections and narrow streets.
However, during the Brexit process following the UK’s departure from the European Union, it was discussed that the flow of traffic should be changed from the left in the UK and shifted to the right. After these talks, however, the British government announced that left-wing traffic would continue.
Traffic flow history links
Left-hand traffic flow is generally less used around the world than right-hand traffic flow. But in some countries, especially those that were part of the British Empire, left-hand traffic is common.
The history of left-wing traffic actually goes back to the Romans. The Romans built their roads from the right side. Therefore, when entering and leaving the farm, the horses had to go on the left, so that the horses’ bridles would not get caught in the roadside trees. Also, the horses going on the left side prevented the swords of the riders from colliding with each other.
In later years it became more common to drive on the right in Europe. This change took place during the French Revolution. During the French Revolution, those sitting next to the drivers were targeted by revolutionaries. Therefore, drivers began to place their seats on the right side, which led to the popularity of right-hand traffic.
However, left-hand traffic flow has become common practice in the UK. This is because in England in the 1700s, when traveling by horse-drawn carriages, drivers began using the lane on the left to avoid the horses’ swords colliding with each other. This practice continued with the invention of motor vehicles, and left-hand traffic is still practiced in England.
Considerations regarding left-hand traffic flow
Left-hand traffic is uncommon worldwide and can be confusing for drivers accustomed to right-hand traffic. Those driving in left-hand traffic countries such as the UK should consider a few warnings.
Watch out for right-hand traffic
In left-hand traffic, vehicles drive in the left lane, contrary to what we are normally used to. Watching out for vehicles coming from the right is therefore a priority, especially at intersections.
Think road signs
In the left traffic stream, traffic signs are also in different directions. Paying attention to road signs helps you find direction.
Be careful while driving
When using vehicles, the locations of the accelerator and brake pedals are also different. Switching left-handed also requires attention. Speed rules must also be observed in left-hand traffic.
Plan your route well
Drivers who are not accustomed to left-hand traffic should plan their route in advance. This will help them avoid potential difficulties they may encounter along the way.
In countries with left-hand traffic, motorists may also encounter drivers who are not used to driving on the right. That’s why it’s important to be wary of possible errors from other drivers.
Getting used to left-hand traffic can be difficult, especially for drivers accustomed to right-hand traffic. Therefore, especially those who drive for the first time in a country with left-hand traffic, should drive slowly and take their time.
Why does traffic drive on the left in England?
The left-wing traffic in England has arisen for historical reasons. During the Middle Ages in England, water drains were built along roadsides, so people walked on the left side. Therefore, in the days when horse-drawn carriages were used, drivers also had to drive on the left.
In which countries other than the UK does left-hand traffic flow?
Left-hand traffic is also practiced in some countries around the world outside the UK. These include Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, India, Japan, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand.
When did the use of left-hand traffic in the UK begin?
The left-hand traffic flow in England began in the 18th century, when horse-drawn carriages became widely used. In 1773, left-hand traffic was introduced in London for the first time.
Does left-hand traffic in the UK affect health?
There is no health difference between left-hand traffic flow and right-hand traffic flow. However, for drivers who are not used to driving on the left, the risk of traffic accidents may be higher.
What should travelers to the UK do to get used to the left-hand traffic flow?
Those traveling to the UK can practice beforehand to get used to the left-hand traffic flow. In addition, they must drive carefully and pay attention to road signs while driving. If they are not sure, they can use public transport instead of renting a car.