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Countries that Drive on the Right 2024

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.

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.

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Country
Drive on the Right
Date Of Switch
Notes
ChinaRight1946
Parts of China were Left in the 1930s.
United StatesRight
NigeriaRight2 April 1972
British colony until 1960. Under the military government, it switched to Right due to being surround...
BrazilRight1928
Portuguese colony before 1822.
RussiaRight
In the Russian Far East, RHD vehicles are common due to the import of used cars from nearby Japan.
EthiopiaRight8 June 1964
MexicoRight
PhilippinesRight1946
Was Left during the Spanish and American colonial periods. Switched to Right after the Battle of Man...
EgyptRight
DR CongoRight
Belgian colony before 1960. RHD vehicles are common, especially in the southeast.
VietnamRight
French colony until 1954. The Long Bien Bridge uses Left.
IranRight
TurkeyRight
Except Metrobus, which is usually Left.
GermanyRight
FranceRight1792
Includes French Polynesia, New Caledonia, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Wallis and Futuna, French Guian...
ItalyRight1924–26
MyanmarRight6 December 1970
British colony until 1948. Switched to Right under the orders of Ne Win. Theories emerge on the reas...
ColombiaRight
South KoreaRight1946
Was Left during the period of Japanese rule. Switched to Right after the Surrender of Japan.
SudanRight1973
Formerly Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, it switched sides 17 years later to match neighbours.
SpainRight1924
Up to the 1920s Barcelona was Right, and Madrid was Left until 1924. The Madrid Metro still uses Lef...
IraqRight
AlgeriaRight
Part of France until 1962.
ArgentinaRight10 June 1945
The anniversary on 10 June is still observed each year as Día de la Seguridad Vial (road safety day)...
AfghanistanRight
Kabul adopted Right 1955.
PolandRight
South-eastern Poland (former Austrian Partition) was Left until the 1920s.
CanadaRight
MoroccoRight
Under French and Spanish protection until 1956.
UkraineRight1922
Western parts of the country had Left under Austro-Hungarian Empire
AngolaRight1928
Portuguese colony until 1975.
Saudi ArabiaRight1942
UzbekistanRight
YemenRight1977
South Yemen, formerly the British colony of Aden, changed to Right in 1977. A series of postage stam...
GhanaRight4 August 1974
British colony until 1957. Ghana switched to Right in 1974,
PeruRight
MadagascarRight
This island nation was a French colony until 1958.
Ivory CoastRight
Part of French West Africa before 1960.
VenezuelaRight
CameroonRight1961
NigerRight
Part of French West Africa before 1958.
North KoreaRight1946
Was Left during the period of Japanese rule. Switched to Right after the Surrender of Japan.
SyriaRight
Was under French control.
MaliRight
Part of French West Africa before 1960.
TaiwanRight1946
Was Left during the period of Japanese rule. The Republic of China (1912–1949) changed Taiwan to Rig...
Burkina FasoRight
Part of French West Africa before 1958.
KazakhstanRight
ChileRight1920s
RomaniaRight1919
Regions of Romania (Transylvania, Bukovina, parts of the Banat, Crișana and Maramureș) that were par...
ChadRight
SomaliaRight
The former British Somaliland had Left until it formed a union with the former Italian Somaliland wh...
EcuadorRight
GuatemalaRight
SenegalRight
Part of French West Africa before 1960.
NetherlandsRight1 January 1906
Includes Aruba, Curaçao, and Sint Maarten.
CambodiaRight
French protectorate before 1953.
GuineaRight
RwandaRight
Belgian colony before 1962. Considering switching to Left.
BeninRight
Part of French West Africa before 1960.
BurundiRight
Belgian colony before 1962. Considering switching to Left.
BoliviaRight
TunisiaRight
Right was enforced in the French protectorate of Tunisia from 1881 to 1956.
HaitiRight
French colony until 1804.
BelgiumRight1899
Dominican RepublicRight
JordanRight
South SudanRight1973
Part of Sudan until 2011.
CubaRight
HondurasRight
SwedenRight3 September 1967
The day of the switch was known as Dagen H. Most passenger vehicles were already LHD.
Czech RepublicRight1939
Switched during the German occupation of Czechoslovakia.
AzerbaijanRight
TajikistanRight
GreeceRight1926
Originally Left (albeit unofficially) since independence. The establishment of the traffic code swit...
PortugalRight1928
Colonies Goa, Macau and Mozambique, which had land borders with Left countries, did not switch and c...
HungaryRight1941
Originally Left, like most of Austria-Hungary, but switched sides during the Second World War.
United Arab EmiratesRight1 September 1966
Former British protectorate.
BelarusRight
IsraelRight
TogoRight
Part of French West Africa until 1960.
Sierra LeoneRight1 March 1971
British colony until 1961. Switched to Right being surrounded by neighbouring former French colonies...
AustriaRight1921–38
Originally Left, like most of Austria-Hungary, but switched sides after the annexation of Austria by...
SwitzerlandRight
LaosRight
French protectorate until 1953. The Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge is Left in connection to Thailand.
NicaraguaRight
SerbiaRight1926
(As part of Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes). Vojvodina was Left while part of Austria-Hungary...
LibyaRight
Italian colony from 1911 to 1947.
ParaguayRight1945
KyrgyzstanRight
In 2012, over 20,000 cheap used RHD cars were imported from Japan.
BulgariaRight
TurkmenistanRight
El SalvadorRight
Republic of the CongoRight
French colony before 1960.
DenmarkRight
Includes the Faroe Islands and Greenland.
Central African RepublicRight
French colonies before 1960.
SlovakiaRight1939–41
Switched during the German occupation of Czechoslovakia.
FinlandRight8 June 1858
LiberiaRight
Was under American control.
NorwayRight
PalestineRight
Costa RicaRight
LebanonRight
French Mandate of Lebanon before 1946.
MauritaniaRight
Part of French West Africa before 1960. Mining roads between Fderîck and Zouérat are Left.
OmanRight
PanamaRight1943
KuwaitRight
British Protectorate until 1961.
CroatiaRight1926
Was then part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes.
EritreaRight8 June 1964
Italian colony before 1942.
GeorgiaRight
About 40% of vehicles in Georgia are RHD due to the low cost of used cars imported from Japan.
MongoliaRight
UruguayRight9 September 1945
Became Left in 1918, but as in some other countries in South America, changed to Right in 1945.
MoldovaRight
Puerto RicoRight
Bosnia and HerzegovinaRight1918
Switched sides after the collapse of Austria-Hungary.
GambiaRight1 October 1965
British colony until 1965. Switched to Right on 1 October 1965 being surrounded by the former French...
AlbaniaRight
ArmeniaRight
QatarRight
Former British protectorate. Switched to same side as neighbours.
LithuaniaRight
GabonRight
French colony before 1960.
SloveniaRight1926
(As part of Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes.) Officially Left from 1915 as part of Austria-Hun...
North MacedoniaRight
LatviaRight
Equatorial GuineaRight
Spanish colony before 1968.
BahrainRightNovember 1967
Former British protectorate. Switched to the same side as its neighbours.
EstoniaRight
DjiboutiRight
French colony before 1977.
ComorosRight
French colony before 1975.
LuxembourgRight
MontenegroRight
Cape VerdeRight1928
Portuguese colony before 1975.
Western SaharaRight
Spanish colony until 1976.
BelizeRight1961
British colony before 1981. Switched to same side as neighbours.
IcelandRight26 May 1968
This Atlantic island nation changed to Right on H-dagurinn. Most passenger cars were already LHD.
VanuatuRight
Co-administered under France and the United Kingdom until 1980.
Sao Tome and PrincipeRight1928
Portuguese colony until 1975.
GuamRight
MicronesiaRight
Was under American control.
AndorraRight
Landlocked between France and Spain.
Northern Mariana IslandsRight
American SamoaRight
Marshall IslandsRight
Was under American control.
LiechtensteinRight
Landlocked between Switzerland and Austria.
MonacoRight
Was under French control.
San MarinoRight
Enclaved state surrounded by Italy.
GibraltarRight1929
Gibraltar is Right because of its land border with Spain.
PalauRight
Most passenger vehicles are RHD due to them being imported from Australia and Japan.
Vatican CityRight
Enclave of Rome.
IndiaLeft
Part of British India before 1947.
IndonesiaLeft
Roads and railways were built by the Dutch, with Left for roads to conform to British and Japanese s...
PakistanLeft
Part of British India before 1947.
BangladeshLeft
Part of Pakistan before 1971, which was part of British India before 1947.
JapanLeft
Left was enacted in law in 1924. One of the few non-British-colony countries to use Left. Okinawa Pr...
ThailandLeft
One of the few non-British-colony Left countries. Shares a long land border with Right Myanmar, Laos...
TanzaniaLeft
Was British colony until 1961.
United KingdomLeft
An island nation with a land border with the Republic of Ireland, which is also Left. Also Left are ...
South AfricaLeft
British colony before 1910.
KenyaLeft
Part of the British East Africa Protectorate before 1963.
UgandaLeft
Part of British Uganda Protectorate from 1894 until 1962.
MozambiqueLeft
Portuguese colony until 1975. Drives on the same side as its neighbours.
MalaysiaLeft
British colony before 1957.
NepalLeft
Shares open land border with Left India.
AustraliaLeft
British colonies before 1901. Includes Australian external territories.
Sri LankaLeft
British Ceylon from 1815 to 1948.
MalawiLeft
British colony before 1964.
ZambiaLeft
British colony before 1964.
ZimbabweLeft
British colony before 1965 (de facto) or 1980 (de jure).
Papua New GuineaLeft
After Australia occupied German New Guinea during World War I, it switched to Left.
Hong KongLeft
Hong Kong was a British colony from 1841 to 1941 and from 1945 to 1997, when the dependent territory...
SingaporeLeft
This island nation was a British colony until 1963. It was also part of Malaysia until 1965.
New ZealandLeft
These Pacific islands, including territories Niue and Cook Islands, were former British colonies.
IrelandLeft
What is now the Republic of Ireland was part of the United Kingdom before 1922. The Republic covers ...
JamaicaLeft
British colony before 1962. Caribbean island. Most passenger vehicles are RHD, tractor-trailers and ...
BotswanaLeft
British colony before 1966.
NamibiaLeft1920
When South Africa occupied German South West Africa in the First World War, it switched to Left. Sou...
LesothoLeft
British protectorate from 1885 to 1966. Enclave of Left South Africa.
Trinidad and TobagoLeft
British colony before 1962. Caribbean island.
Timor LesteLeft19 July 1976
Portuguese colony until 1975. Switched to Right with Portugal in 1928; under the Indonesian annexati...
MauritiusLeft
This island nation was a British colony before 1968.
CyprusLeft
Under UK administration before 1960. Island nation. De facto divided between the Republic of Cyprus,...
EswatiniLeft
British protectorate until 1968. Continues to drive on the same side as neighbouring countries.
FijiLeft
The island nation was a British colony before 1970.
GuyanaLeft
British colony until 1966. One of the only two countries in continental America which are in Left, t...
BhutanLeft
Under British protection before 1949.
Solomon IslandsLeft
This island nation was a British protectorate before 1975.
MacauLeft
Macau was under Portuguese rule until 1999, when the dependent territory was transferred to China.
SurinameLeft1920s
Dutch colony until 1975. One of the only two countries in continental America which are in Left, the...
MaltaLeft
British colony before 1964. Island nation.
MaldivesLeft
This island nation was a British colony before 1965.
BruneiLeft
British protection until 1984.
BahamasLeft
British colony before 1973. Caribbean island. Most passenger vehicles are LHD due to them being impo...
BarbadosLeft
This Atlantic island state was a British colony before 1966.
SamoaLeft7 September 2009
Despite New Zealand occupying German Samoa during the first World War, the country did not switch to...
Saint LuciaLeft
This Caribbean island nation was a British colony before 1979.
KiribatiLeft
This Pacific island nation was a British colony before 1979.
GrenadaLeft
British colony before 1974. Caribbean island.
JerseyLeft
Was Right from 1940 to 1945 due to the German occupation.
TongaLeft
British protectorate before 1970. Polynesian island nation.
SeychellesLeft
This island nation was a British colony until 1976.
Saint Vincent and the GrenadinesLeft
Antigua and BarbudaLeft
These Caribbean islands were a British colony until 1958.
Isle of ManLeft
DominicaLeft
British colony before 1978. Caribbean island.
Cayman IslandsLeft
Most passenger vehicles are LHD due to imports from the United States, which has Right.
GuernseyLeft
Was Right from 1940 to 1945 due to the German occupation.
Saint Kitts and NevisLeft
This Caribbean island nation was a British colony before 1983.
Turks and Caicos IslandsLeft
Most passenger vehicles are LHD due to imports from the United States, which has Right.
British Virgin IslandsLeft
Most passenger vehicles are LHD due to imports from the United States, which is Right.
NauruLeft1918
This island nation was administered by Australia until 1968.
TuvaluLeft
Formerly a British colony. Became independent in 1978.
Falkland IslandsLeft
Briefly switched to Right during the Falklands War.
showing: 210 rows

How many countries drive on the right side of the road?

Approximately 157 countries drive on the right side of the road. It's estimated that around 75% of countries around the world practice right-hand traffic rules.

Frequently Asked Questions

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