Monday, November 28, 2011

Driving on the left?

Ever wondered why the British drive on the left side of the road?

Well, during the Middle Ages, everyone kept to the left in case they came across an unfriendly stranger on the right, and needed to draw their sword easily. Keeping to the left became official in 1300 A.D. and continued until the late 1700s, when the US and France used wagons carring farm products pulled by several pairs of horses. The driver had to sit on the left rear horse in order to keep his right arm free to lash the horses, and to make sure he could see to stay clear of other wagon wheels passing. The first known keep-right law was enacted in Pennsylvania in 1792.

In England, however, they didn't use horse drawn wagons with a driver riding one of the horses. The driver sat on the right side of a seat mounted on the wagon, so the whip wouldn't get caught in the load behind him when he lashed the horses. Keeping left became English law in 1756,with the enactment of an ordinance governing traffic on the London Bridge.