The countries where you still drive on the left were mostly British colonies. Many of them after their independence changed their driving system to the right, but other former British colonies such as India, Pakistan and Australia, Cyprus or Guyana in South America still retain car driving on the left.
In the majority of the world one drives by the right side, but at least in a third of those countries cars still drive on the left. Progressively many countries that used to drive on the left, including some that belong to the Commonwealth such as Canada, also decided to change the driving mode on the right to facilitate border crossings.
Origin of driving on the left
The history of this way of driving dates from ancient Greece. The Greek troops as well as the Egyptian and Roman, used to keep marching on the left side of the road. Some archaeological findings made in 1998, evidenced this practice in a double way that led to a Roman quarry in the south of England, near Swindon.
The grooves on the road suggest that loaded carriages were traveling on the left side of the road as they moved away from the quarry. There are also records of an order issued by Pope Boniface VIII in the year 1300 for pilgrims to keep walking on the left side of the road.
Regarding the left-hand drive established in English law, the first reference in England arises in 1756, and is related to transit through the London Bridge. In France, after the French Revolution, driving on the left changed and all traffic in the French Empire has since remained on the right.
In England, English riders preferred to ride on the left side of the road, which allowed them to keep their right arm free to greet other riders approaching in the opposite direction or passersby. In addition, it facilitated them to draw their sword to defend themselves.
From 1919 to 1986, 34 of the countries and territories that used the left drive mode (RHL) changed to the right (RHT). Following is the list of countries by continent or region that lead to the left:
In the African continent you drive on the left in Botswana, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Lesotho, Malawi, South Africa, Swaziland (Eswatini), Seychelles, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Uganda.
Almost all the Caribbean countries maintain the way of driving on the left, with some exceptions. The RHL countries of the Caribbean are: Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Cayman Islands, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago.
In the European continent the countries and territories where one still leads to the left are: Cyprus, Guernsey, Ireland, Isle of Man, Jersey, Malta, Scotland and the United Kingdom.
In the oceanic continent the countries and territories where you drive on the left are: Australia, Fiji, Solomon Islands, Christmas Island, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Cook Islands, Kiribati, Maldives, Mauritius, Nauru, Niue, Tasmania, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, Samoa, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.
In South America, the only two countries where you drive on the left are Guyana and Suriname.
It is very important that when planning your next trip for any country that you want to travel by rental car, first make sure which side you drive. Then, learn about the legal driving requirements demanded by the authorities and some useful driving tips from that country to make the travel experience more pleasant.
And don't forget to request your international driver's license at IDL Services Inc. before.