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So why do Brits drive on the wrong side of the road?

Brits aren’t the only ones who use this long-lived road practice of driving on the left side. About 60 countries around the world — many of them former British colonies — drive on the left, according to www.drivers.com.

The origin of traveling on the left side dates back before the invention of the automobile to the horse-and-buggy days.

This rule of the road possibly came about as a result of violent feudal societies. Since most people were right-handed, traveling on the left was a wise tactic to protect one’s self with a weapon in their dominant hand, according to www.driving.co.uk.

Famed conqueror Napoleon Bonaparte overturned this practice as part of a social rethink during revolutionary France, the Web site said. This could have been because Napoleon was left-handed, and he made his armies march to the right so he could keep his sword between him and the advancing enemy, the Web site added.

A newly formed United States changed its traffic system to the right side as well, according to www.almanac.com, as a way to sever ties to its British colonial past.

And since the U.S. eventually climbed to the top of the automotive trade at one time, more and more American-style vehicles littered the world, prompting many other countries to alter their traffic systems, the Web site said.

The last European country to switch to right-side driving was Sweden in 1967. The changeover not only made it more convenient for drivers of American cars but also reduced the number of road accident casualties, as residents were extra careful while driving under the new system, according to www.driving.co.uk.

Got a question about something you’ve seen or heard around the United Kingdom? E-mail us at: uknews@estripes.osd.mil

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