Which Countries Drive on the Left - A Handy Guide!

Which Countries Drive on the Left - A Handy Guide!

"No one likes to drive on the wrong side of the road so we have compiled a guide of which countries drive on the left and which drive on the right so you don’t get caught out..."

Most countries which were British colonies still drive on the left hand side of the road including huge land masses such as India, Australia and Southern Africa as well as the Caribbean. Europe generally drives on the right hand side apart from the United Kingdom, Ireland, Malta and Cyprus. Guyana (formerly a British colony) is the only country in South America to drive on the left.

Which Countries Drive on the Left or the Right

The other two thirds of the countries in the world drive on the right including the USA, China and Russia. Canada used to drive on the left but changed to the right to make border crossings with the USA more manageable.

The reasons for these distinctions are historical. British horseback riders used to ride on the left hand side of the road, thus keeping their right arm free to offer greetings to passersby or, if needs be, draw their sword. However, in The USA teamsters used to sit on the left hand horse while driving a wagon and therefore keep their right hand free for whipping the other horses. They decided to start driving on the right so that they could see the passing wheels of other wagons and avoid collisions.

Countries that drive on the LEFT

 
Drive on the Left in;
Drive Smart Guide to Country
  • Australia
  • Caribbean Islands*
  • Channel Islands
  • Cyprus
  • Japan
  • Hong Kong
  • India
  • Isle of Man
  • Ireland
  • Jamaica
  • Kenya
  • Malta
  • Malaysia
  • New Zealand
  • South Africa
  • Singapore
  • Thailand
  • UK
See our full list of Drive Smart Guides here.

So wherever in the world you are driving in your rental car, make sure you know before you take to the roads what side of the road to drive on, and if you are not sure, make sure you ask at the car hire desk!

Need to know which countries drive on the left because you are hiring a car abroad?

Posted: August 16, 2009 by Global Administrator | with 32 comments

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Comments
Martin
I'm sure there have been road accidents caused by not remembering you're in a country that drives on the other side of the road. It would be good if the one-third decided to join the majority in driving on the right side of the road.
6/1/2018 4:24:08 PM
Andrew
Dennis, I was recently in Spain and had to drive on the right using the gear stick (proper name for whatever you call it) and it is no easier at all, in fact it was harder because of muscle memory and me reaching for the door handle rather than the gear stick to change gears! I personally think it is much safer having your right hand permanently on the steering wheel using your left hand to change gear as this is the majority of peoples dominant hand...
4/29/2018 8:06:01 PM
Steve
There are some very naive people commenting here. It's way too late for countries with sophisticated road networks to switch sides. It would likely cost well into the 10s to 100s of billions dollars to do so. All major highways would need to be massively modified with respect to off and on ramps. Traffic light systems, roundabouts, and so on. Then there's the problem of stupid people who can barely drive properly on the roads as it is, forcing them onto the other side would cost lots of lives.
4/16/2018 1:02:37 PM
Aviatornp
Nepal is a sovereign country. Also Drives on left...Not part of India.... Biches
4/12/2018 5:45:26 PM
Dennis
I think that the leftys would have switched by now because it is easier to drive a stick shift with your right hand shifting especially if you are right handed!!!!
4/7/2018 8:21:38 AM
someone who can count
The 2 main numbers on the map should be inverted: as Wikipedia states, 163 countries and territories drive on the right (mainland Europe & Co), and 76 on the left (UK and such).
7/6/2017 1:28:59 PM
Emile
In fact, when riding a horse was the norm, a horseman when meeting another one of the way would stay on the right side of the road to keep his shield to the incoming "threat" and be ready to use his sword with his right hand, if need be..
6/27/2017 11:48:09 AM
E. Roberts
Napolean was an egotistical tyrant who was left handed. He forced everyone else to ride on the right so that his left arm was facing any potential enemy.
Nothing to do with England. Though they weren't stupid enough to be conquered by him
6/16/2017 7:45:46 PM
Ian
Connor said:
"couldn't imagine how to possibly have the same turning experience in a left hand side driven vehicle in a left hand lane"

But they don't!! In countries that drive on the left, the steering wheel is on the right hand side of the cars. In Australia, for example, you cannot even register a left-hand drive vehicle (with a few rare exceptions for historic vehicles)
6/6/2017 4:52:10 AM
Jacob
To Connor
I drive on the right hand side with my steering wheel on the left hand side, and honestly couldn't imagine how to possibly have the same turning experience in a left hand side driven vehicle in a left hand lane.... It's just not right, the uk and so many other countries need to update to be driving on the right hand side.
3/21/2017 10:58:45 AM
Joanna
Suriname, which borders Guyana, also drives on the left. It was a British then Dutch colony.
2/26/2017 4:52:08 PM
Connor
I drive on the left hand side with my steering wheel on the right hand side, and honestly couldn't imagine how to possibly have the same turning experience in a right hand side driven vehicle in a right hand lane.... It's just not right, the states and so many other countries need to update to be driving on the left hand side once again.
2/25/2017 12:18:02 AM
Geoff
I believe that in the late 1800's the USA also drove on the lest
2/12/2017 8:53:01 PM
DS
Mauritius is former brit colony and still have their cars have their steering wheel on the right side and not the wrong side ;)
2/1/2017 6:26:49 AM
Bill Davidson
Good thing we invented motorcycles. Now when we switch the brakes and gas around from left to right we shall have a great big mess - and for stick shifts - three card monte. We shall all be left-handed - at last a Universal Victory for mankind!
1/14/2017 5:16:42 PM
Cal
Indonesians also drive on the left.
12/22/2016 1:00:41 AM
Haaan
Football is played on the left too, fun fact
12/7/2016 2:54:58 PM
Habib
Forgot Bangladesh and Italy
z.
12/7/2016 2:50:07 PM
Adel
Thank you everyone
12/4/2016 6:12:44 AM
Wayne
Tanzania also
11/6/2016 8:50:53 PM
Ali
They have forgotten Pakistan
11/6/2016 9:45:34 AM
Ali
They also forgot Pakistan 😳
11/6/2016 9:44:34 AM
Radman26
You forgot Burma/Myanmar and I think Sweden used to
9/16/2016 12:14:50 AM
Kenneth Morris
The Romans first introduced driving/riding on the left and this was the case throughout their whole empire. This was recently established as fact due to the realisation being discovered from a North England Roman quarry. The wheel ruts where light and shallow on the left going into the quarry and deep on the right coming out of the quarry.

When Napoleon came into power, thinking that the left-hand driving was an English thing that was adopted throughout Europe, he changed it to driving on the right. The ironic thing is that Napoleon was fanatical about the Roman Empire.

Due to vehicles being manufactured for left and right hand driving, the indicators, horn locations etc. are not consistent from one manufacturer to another, and this leads to confusion in the seconds of blind panic, resulting in unnecessary road accidents.
8/15/2016 10:09:27 PM
blair
Bermuda should be added
1/10/2016 5:20:44 PM
Vincent
Forgot Sri Lanka
1/4/2016 5:09:12 PM
Carson
Macau drives on the left as well!
11/30/2015 4:03:06 AM
prabesh
Nepal is also a country which drivers on the left
11/12/2015 6:04:35 PM
someone who can read
you forgot Australia
Caribbean Islands*
Channel Islands
Cyprus
Japan
Hong Kong
India
Isle of Man
Ireland
Jamaica
Kenya
Malta
Malaysia
New Zealand
South Africa
Singapore
Thailand
UK
11/15/2014 4:40:39 PM
Lisa Tarr
You forgot many of the Caribbean islands
6/30/2014 5:44:50 AM
Davy
You forgot Cyprus
2/15/2014 1:05:39 PM
Brian
nice map!
1/16/2014 1:14:20 PM