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We drive on the right, but why do we have LHD?

Clutch Cargo said:
The story I heard about why we Yanks drive on the right is this: As commerce expanded westward into new territories on straight new roads, wagonbuilders ("wainwrights") built huge wagons. These were pulled by teams of 6, 8, or 10 horses or mules. The teamsters, carrying their whips in their right hands, would walk along on the right side of their teams so they could reach all the horses. Any smaller vehicles they encountered on the roads had to accomodate the big boys....
Even though the US has a long history (pre-automobile) of traveling on the right side of the road, many early cars, from literally hundreds of different American car manufacturers in the early 1900’s, were often produced in RHD or LHD form without either one being regarded as the "proper" side for the steering wheel . After all, one benefit of RHD is that it made it very easy for the driver to get out of the car on the curb side without having to walk around the car.

However, sometime circa 1913 Henry Ford decided that all mass-produced Model T cars would only painted black and only be made in LHD form for the US. Since the Model T outsold every other car combined, it appears that this production decision -- not which side of the road we drove on -- is what helped create the lasting standard of LHD for the US. :)


I'm weird enough that I wouldn't mind a new MINI Cooper S in RHD form to match my classic 1965 Mini with RHD. :cool: If only BMW would consider making it available in this country...
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