highway Botswana
Out on the open road — more specifically, a divided highway — in Botswana. Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Where Do Motorists Drive on the Left Side of the Road?

Keep left if you drive in one of them.

Although 25 percent of the roads in the world are in countries and territories in which motor vehicles are driven on the left side of the road, approximately 90 percent of the total road distance in the world carries traffic on the right side of the road…

Where Do Motorists Drive on the Left Side of the Road?

…so does that mean that those people who comprise approximately one third of the population of the world who reside in countries and territories drive on the wrong side of the road if they drive on the left side of the road?

Of course not — but that can cause potential discomfort to a person who has never driven on the opposite side of the road to what he or she is used to in his or her native country.

The 57 countries and territories in which motorists are required to drive on the left side of the road include:

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Australia
  • Bahamas
  • Bangladesh
  • Barbados
  • Bhutan
  • Botswana
  • Brunei
  • Cyprus
  • Dominica
  • East Timor
  • Eswatini — formerly known as Swaziland
  • Fiji
  • Grenada
  • Guyana
  • Hong Kong
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Ireland
  • Jamaica
  • Japan
  • Kenya
  • Kiribati
  • Lesotho
  • Macau
  • Malawi
  • Malaysia
  • Maldives
  • Malta
  • Mauritius
  • Mozambique
  • Namibia
  • Nauru
  • Nepal
  • New Zealand
  • Pakistan
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Saint Kitts and Nevis
  • Saint Lucia
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Samoa
  • Seychelles
  • Singapore
  • Solomon Islands
  • South Africa
  • Sri Lanka
  • Suriname
  • Tanzania
  • Thailand
  • Tonga
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Tuvalu
  • Uganda
  • United Kingdom — with the exceptions of British Indian Ocean Territory and Gibraltar
  • United States Virgin Islands
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe

Final Boarding Call

As a citizen of the United States, I am accustomed to driving on the right side of the road…

…but I have since driven in at least eleven countries where driving on the left side of the road is compulsory; and I have never been involved in an accident — unless you count that stupid pothole I encountered on highway R76 in South Africa on my way to Lesotho.

Based on my experiences, I have since concluded that left-hand-side driving on foreign roads is not scary; and that you can gain some insights in being more confident to drive on the opposite side of the road.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

  1. Cellphone rings. Brian answers.
    “Brian, be careful. It said on the traffic report that there’s a guy driving on the wrong side of the road”.
    “It’s worse than that. There’s thousands of them!”

    1. That was funny, Barry Graham.

      Thank you for the laugh!

      Now if all of those wrong-way drivers would just get out of my way…

  2. I don’t find it hard to drive on the left (as a person from a right-hand drive country) but it can take a little adjustment to drive a manual transmission vehicle in a right-hand drive vehicle if you aren’t used to that. There are also a few places like the USVI where most of the vehicles are left-hand drive and they drive on the left. Also places where people cross over with left or right drive vehicles. That is more of a challenge I think.

    1. I would like to try that challenge of crossing over one day, DaninMCI

      …and when I do, I intend to report on it here at The Gate

    1. Anguilla is a British Overseas Territory and therefore part of the United Kingdom, Potcake. Bermuda would be another example.

      If it were an exception — as was British Indian Ocean Territory and Gibraltar — it would have been included in the list as an exception.

      Enjoy your time in Anguilla!

  3. The Bahamas is confusing because they drive on the left but the driver’s seat is also on the left, even when renting from Budget. That is because many cars are US sourced.

    I read that Palau has the opposite problem. They drive right but most cars have right hand drive due to most of the cars being used cars from Japan. Income in Palau is low so the new car market is small. In fact, the first Toyota dealer in Palau is only opening next month and they will sell only one new model at first, the Toyota Hilux pickup truck.

    The market for right hand drive cars could sharply drop if the UK and Japan change over. If they do, the biggest markets might be Australia, India, and Indonesia, which are not huge markets. What could happen is that cars in India become more expensive and some smaller countries just remain driving left but have left hand drive cars.

    I found that driving on the left requires the most concentration when making a turn. One’s instinct might be to turn to the right side of the road. I did not have difficulty in the times that I drove on the left except there was one very tight parking lot in a UK hotel where all the cars parked like sardines (including in the lanes) because cars only were allowed to enter in the afternoon/evening and not allowed to leave until morning. I had a harder time making tight turns and backing up so a hotel employee helped me steer while he was outside the car and I was in the driver’s seat.

    1. I noticed that anomaly when I was in Bermuda, derek.

      As for turning, I have no problem with that — which makes me wonder if I am too comfortable at times and double check myself…

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