If you’ve ever been in a foreign country and seen cars driving on the side of the road opposite from what you’re used to, then you’ve likely encountered a right-hand drive vehicle. Right-hand drives are common worldwide, but what countries use them?
Here is an overview of where people use right-hand drive cars, how they became so widespread, and why countries continue to embrace them.
Right-Hand Drive Countries
Driving on the right side of the car is more common than you probably think it is. Several countries around the world use right-hand drive cars. These countries are generally located in Asia, Africa, and the Pacific Islands. Some specific countries that use right-hand drive cars include Japan, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Mozambique, Madagascar, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Fiji, and Papua New Guinea.
The vast majority of carmakers sell left-hand drive models for the international market. However, a handful of manufacturers produce left and right-side driving cars. These manufacturers include Honda (which offers both types of models in Japan), Mitsubishi (which offers both types of models in Australia and New Zealand), Subaru (which offers both in Australia), Suzuki (which offers both types of models in Pakistan), and Daihatsu (which offers both in Indonesia).
LHD vs. RHD
There are two main types of cars in the world: those driven on the left side of the road and those driven on the right. Most countries generally drive on the right side of the road, while a minority drive on the left.
There are several reasons why some countries have chosen to switch from left-hand drive (LHD) to right-hand drive (RHD). One reason is that it’s simply easier to turn right than left. This is especially true when making a U-turn, which can be tricky and dangerous in an LHD car.
Another reason for switching to RHD is that it’s less likely to cause head-on collisions. This is because drivers in RHD cars sit on the opposite side of the car from oncoming traffic, so they can see each other coming and react accordingly. In LHD cars, drivers sit on the same side as oncoming traffic, making it more difficult to judge distances and speeds.
Finally, RHD cars tend to be less expensive than LHD cars. This is because most car manufacturers produce RHD cars for the global market, so there’s more competition and lower prices. LHD cars are often more expensive because they’re produced in smaller numbers for specific markets.
So, if you’re looking for a new car, you may consider getting a right-hand drive model. You’ll save money, get a better view of oncoming traffic, and be able to make U-turns more easily.
Why Do Some Countries Drive on the Left?
Some countries, like the United Kingdom, drive on the left side of the road because that’s how they were built. The British devised a “right-hand rule,” which required all vehicles to keep to the right, making it easier for everyone to get where they were going.
Other countries, like Japan, switched to driving on the left side of the road when they started importing vehicles from Britain. Following the British lead made sense so drivers wouldn’t have to relearn everything when they got behind the wheel.
There are a few exceptions to this rule. In some countries, like Sweden and Finland, people drive on the right side of the road because that’s how they built their roads. But in other cases, like in Ireland and Malta, people drive on the left side of the road because that’s what their neighbors do.
The Pros and Cons of Right-Hand Drive Cars
There are pros and cons to using a right-hand drive car. The main pro is that it can help you stay in your lane on the road, and this is because you will be able to see further down the road and anticipate any potential hazards. The main con is that it can be more difficult to park, as you will have to reverse into a space. However, this is not always the case, as some drivers find it easier to park a right-hand drive car.
Right-Hand Drive Vehicle Examples in the United States
Aside from some mail trucks, there are a handful of right-hand drive vehicles that can be found in the United States. They are mostly imports, and they cater to a niche market. Here are some examples:
- Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution: The Lancer Evolution is a high-performance sedan that was originally only sold in Japan. However, some enthusiasts have imported them into the United States.
- Subaru Impreza WRX STI: The Subaru Impreza WRX STI is another performance car that is popular among import fans. It’s available in both left- and right-hand drive variants.
- Nissan Skyline GT-R: The Nissan Skyline GT-R is a classic Japanese performance car. It’s been featured in many video games and movies, and it’s become a cult classic. Like the Lancer Evolution, it’s only available as a right-hand drive car in the United States.
- Toyota Land Cruiser: The Toyota Land Cruiser is a rugged SUV that’s popular in many countries around the world. In the United States, it’s only available as a right-hand drive vehicle.
These are just a few examples of right-hand drive cars that can be found in the United States. As you can see, they cater to a very specific market. If you’re interested in owning one of these cars, you’ll need to do your research and make sure you’re able to comply with all applicable laws and regulations.
GoodCar is Here to Help You Learn All About Cars from Around the World
Right-hand drive cars are popular in some countries more than others. It is important to understand the rules and regulations that come with owning a right-hand drive car before you decide to buy one. With so many variations on the market, it can be difficult to choose the perfect vehicle for you, but hopefully, this overview has given you an insight into where people use them and why they might be a good choice for your needs. For more information on right-hand drive cars, reach out to us here at GoodCar!