History : Why drive on the left ?

A few days earlier, me and some friends from my department were talking about the general driving system and specifically why the British chose to drive on the left while most of everyone in Europe and America drive on the right. We could not come up with any possible reason whatsoever to convince ourselves the necessity for such a discrepancy.

Now, accidentally, i came upon an article that solves the puzzle. The article answers the reason on why do the British drive on the left ?

Here’s the excerpt from the article that was relevant to the discussion i went through.

In the Middle Ages you kept to the left for the simple reason that you never knew who you’d meet on the road in those days. You wanted to make sure that a stranger passed on the right so you could go for your sword in case he proved unfriendly. This custom was given official sanction in 1300 AD, when Pope Boniface VIII invented the modern science of traffic control by declaring that pilgrims headed to Rome should keep left.

The papal system prevailed until the late 1700s, when teamsters in the United States and France began hauling farm products in big wagons pulled by several pairs of horses. These wagons had no driver’s seat. Instead the driver sat on the left rear horse, so he could keep his right arm free to lash the team. Since you were sitting on the left, naturally you wanted everybody to pass on the left so you could look down and make sure you kept clear of the other guy’s wheels. Ergo, you kept to the right side of the road. The first known keep-right law in the U.S. was enacted in Pennsylvania in 1792, and in the ensuing years many states and Canadian provinces followed suit.

Cool isn’t it ?!

Neutron