Why Nigerians adopt American style of driving on the right?


Posted by: Oluwaseun Adeniji

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This is where we definitely need to ask ourselves this question: why did we abandon the left side of the road when we are travelling in our car from one place to another location within?

Perhaps you have wondered the reason why we find ourselves on a various side from the road compared to our UK compatriots? It may seem strange that British motorists prefer left part of the road, yet that is not limited to them only. Around thirty-five percent of global population abides by this same rule, such as people within Ireland, the Japanese as well as a few African nations and Caribbean islands.

Here on Naijauto – the biggest car website in Nigeria, we will tell you the simple reason why Nigerians drive on the right of the road and on the left in their cars.


Left handed drive was revolutionized and adopted even by Nigerian drivers

Evolution of driving pattern

At the inception, almost every motorist took to the left side in the road, but what we should say is that they had different mode of transportation from what we have now.

Men were known to ride mainly on horseback or other transportation mode using animals before the invention of cars. This made those riders especially those in competition or battlefield to draw to their left side that will keep them closer to their rivals. This was a challenge for left handed fighters or knights whom had no choice but to adjust to the difficult situation. When you mount a horse from the left side, it makes it an easy task and that was quickly adapted and equated in driving a car from the left side of the road.

This is where we definitely need to ask ourselves this question: why did we abandon the left side of the road when we are travelling in our car from one place to another location within?

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In the evolution of driving side, horses were used as effective paradigm for right handed drive

Transformation began in the late 1700s when big wagons drawn by a number of pairs involving horses had been used to move farm items in Portugal and the United States of America. Due to the lack of a driver’s seat within the wagon, typically the driver lay on the back left position, with his proper arm liberated to use their whip to help keep the race horses moving. Because he was seated on the left, there was need to allow horse wagons to have a route to pass. This made the rider to keep his wagon to the right side of the street to gain control

The English were adamant enough to give up their traditional driving method, which brought about General Highway Acts in 1773.

This act which was passed into law mandated all drivers to stay to the left side of the road in another Highway Acts in 1835. However in France in the post-revolutionary era under the government of a left handed ruler, Napoleon had no choice but to accept drivers moving at the right side of the road. In the midst of conflicts that surrounded which side was the best side to drive, the French and the British were also conquering colonies and made it a law in their colonies that yielded drivers to their pattern of driving. This particular history explains exactly why former United Kingdom colonies including Australia, New Zealand, and also India utilize right-hand in driving their cars, whilst independent French colonies such as Algeria, Senegal and Ivory Coast drivers prefer left handed cars.

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The British are still using the left side of the road till date

American impacts on global driving style

The American automobile tycoon, Henry Ford exhibited in 1908, his popular T model, which chose the left side of the car as the driver seat, which implies that vehicle will need to stick to the right side of the road while on motion which made the back and front passengers of the car to alight via the curb. This American automobile revolution in driving position influenced other top guns in the world such as countries in North America, Italy, and also Spain in changing their driving to the right side of the road in the 1920s. Consequently many of Eastern European countries adapted this style during the 1930s, which eventually got to Nigeria despite being a former colony of Britain.

Finally, when you acquire a right handed car from overseas, you will be advised to change to left since it is backed by the law and it’s essential to guarantee the safety of yourself and other motorists plying the roads.

Video: Evolution of right and left side drive

>>> For more safe driving tips and advice, click here!

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Oluwaseun Adeniji

Oluwaseun Adeniji

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Oluwaseun Adeniji is a passionate writer and a poet with special interest in writing about cars. He is a master degree holder in international conflict and management. He enjoys feeding the public with the latest auto gist and well researched car reviews. He is also a strong football lover. So, if Oluwaseun is not writing, expect him to be reading about sports.

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