Countries that Drive on the Right 2023

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The most fundamental traffic law in any country is whether traffic will follow the principles of right-hand traffic (RHT, or "keep right"), in which vehicles travel predominantly on the right side of the road, or left-hand traffic (LHT, or "keep left"), in which vehicles keep largely to the left.

Left-hand traffic rules are followed by roughly 30% of the world's countries and territories and 35% of the global population, including the United Kingdom and many former British colonies. However, the majority of the world's UN-recognized countries, which include 65% of its population and 75% of its roadways, follow right-hand traffic rules.

Countries and Territories that Drive on the Right:

Afghanistan Djibouti Laos Qatar
Albania Dominican Republic Latvia Rep. of the Congo
Algeria DR Congo Lebanon Reunion
American Samoa Ecuador Liberia Romania
Andorra Egypt Libya Russia
Angola El Salvador Liechtenstein Rwanda
Argentina Equatorial Guinea Lithuania San Marino
Armenia Eritrea Luxembourg Sao Tome and Principe
Aruba Estonia Madagascar Saudi Arabia
Austria Ethiopia Mali Senegal
Azerbaijan Faroe Islands Marshall Islands Serbia
Bahrain Finland Martinique Sierra Leone
Belarus France Mauritania Sint Maarten
Belgium Gabon Mexico Slovakia
Belize Gambia Micronesia Slovenia
Benin Georgia Moldova Somalia
Bolivia Germany Monaco South Korea
Bonaire Ghana Mongolia South Sudan
Bosnia and Herzegovina Gibraltar Montenegro Spain
Brazil Greece Morocco Sudan
Bulgaria Greenland Myanmar Sweden
Burkina Faso Guadeloupe Netherlands Switzerland
Burundi Guatemala New Caledonia Syria
Cambodia Guinea Nicaragua Taiwan
Cameroon Guinea-Bissau Niger Tajikistan
Canada Haiti Nigeria Togo
Canary Islands Honduras North Korea Tunisia
Cape Verde Hungary North Macedonia Turkey
Central African Republic Iceland Norway Turkmenistan
Chad Iran Oman Ukraine
Chile Iraq Palau United Arab Emirates
China Israel Palestine United States
Colombia Italy Panama Uruguay
Comoros Ivory Coast Paraguay Uzbekistan
Costa Rica Jordan Peru Vanuatu
Croatia Kazakhstan Philippines Vatican City
Cuba Kosovo Poland Venezuela
Curacao Kuwait Portugal Vietnam
Czech Republic Kyrgyzstan Puerto Rico Yemen

Right-side traffic vs right-side drive

The terms right-hand traffic (RHT) and left-hand traffic (LHT) are easily confused with the related terms right-hand drive (RHD) and left-hand drive (LHD). While right-hand traffic indicates the side of the road traffic travels on, right-hand drive refers to the side of the vehicle on which the steering wheel and gas/brake pedals are located.

Early cars often placed the steering wheel either in the center of the vehicle or on the driving side. This changed with the 1908 Model T Ford, which moved the steering wheel closer to the center of the road to give the driver a better view of oncoming traffic. Other manufacturers quickly followed suit. As such, right-hand traffic countries are dominated by left-hand drive vehicles, while left-hand traffic countries prefer right-hand-drive vehicles.

Despite these trends, vehicles of both right-hand drive and left-hand drive are legal in most countries. Only a few countries, such as Armenia, Chile, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone, and Taiwan forbid the registration and use of same-side drive (also called "wrong-hand-drive") vehicles such as RHD vehicles in a RHT country. In fact, mail trucks, sidewalk sweepers, and other vehicles that benefit from quick access to the sidewalk are often deliberately manufactured with same-side drive.

Ancient traffic laws and the shifting balance of left-side driving

In most countries, traffic laws originated in the era of the horse-drawn wagon, centuries before cars and other motor vehicles became widely available. For example, various states in the US began legally establishing right-hand traffic laws as early as 1792, more than 100 years before mass-produced automobiles arrived on the market.

Historians are split as to why the US chose right-hand traffic. One prevailing theory is that RHT felt more natural for wagon drivers—most were right-handed, so they preferred to hold the reins with their left hand and keep their right hand free to wield a rifle or whip. However, another popular theory holds that the fledgling country simply wanted to do the opposite of England, which followed LHT guidelines.

In the early 1900s, the number of nations and territories that drove on the right (RHT, or "keep right" countries) was roughly equal to the number of nations and territories that drove on the left (LHT, or "keep left" countries). However, from 1919 to 1986, more than 30 countries, many of which were former British colonies and remained part of the British Commonwealth, switched to RHT.

Countries that Drive on the Right 2023

Countries that Drive on the Right 2023