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annc
02-17-2005, 11:12 AM
Anne:

'photos of production cars from Europe, Japan and North America to put the driver on the right'

Have they stopped driving on the left in Japan then?I didn't know they drove on the left in Japan.

The things you learn in this forum. <g>

Michael Rowley
02-17-2005, 11:45 AM
Anne:

'I didn't know they drove on the left in Japan'

You tend to pick up these things in the British Isles: we're glad to hear of other eccentrics that drive on the left, since there aren't many of us left now. Quite a lot of countries used to drive on the left, but it became rather inconvenient when motor vehicles from different European countries with common borders met one another if those countries had different ideas about the 'right' side of the road. I believe Austria and the various parts of the K. & K. empire drove on the right, and of course Sweden.

My wife's uncle (born in Moravia) told me that Daimler Benz cars ('Mercedes') used to require customers to specify whether right-hand or left-hand drive was preferred, and that he always preferred to sit on the nearside when driving, so he could see exactly how far he was from the ditch.

I may point out that the driver of a horse-drawn vehicle always sits on the right in Germany (as in most countries).

annc
02-17-2005, 12:05 PM
Anne:

'I didn't know they drove on the left in Japan'

You tend to pick up these things in the British Isles: we're glad to hear of other eccentrics that drive on the left, since there aren't many of us left now. Quite a lot of countries used to drive on the left, but it became rather inconvenient when motor vehicles from different European countries with common borders met one another if those countries had different ideas about the 'right' side of the road. I believe Austria and the various parts of the K. & K. empire drove on the right, and of course Sweden.

My wife's uncle (born in Moravia) told me that Daimler Benz cars ('Mercedes') used to require customers to specify whether right-hand or left-hand drive was preferred, and that he always preferred to sit on the nearside when driving, so he could see exactly how far he was from the ditch.

I may point out that the driver of a horse-drawn vehicle always sits on the right in Germany (as in most countries).We drive on the left also, of course, and not having any 'drive across' borders with other countries, don't have the problems previously seen in Europe. We also don't have to be defensive about it. In fact, it's seen as part of our 'quaintness' by some North American visitors.

Richard Hunt
02-17-2005, 12:56 PM
We drive on the left also, of course, and not having any 'drive across' borders with other countries, don't have the problems previously seen in Europe. We also don't have to be defensive about it. In fact, it's seen as part of our 'quaintness' by some North American visitors.

Countries which drive on the left tend to be Commonwealth - Aus, NZ, SA, India, Burma, Malaysia, Singapore spring to mind. Also Ireland and Thailand, for some reason.

More trivia: Ireland just changed all its road signs to use km rather than miles.

Richard Hunt

Robin Springall
02-17-2005, 01:59 PM
I prefer to drive down the middle <g>

ElyseC
02-17-2005, 04:56 PM
I may point out that the driver of a horse-drawn vehicle always sits on the right in Germany (as in most countries).Such is the case here in southeastern Iowa with the Amish (http://www.mhsc.ca/index.asp?content=http://www.mhsc.ca/encyclopedia/contents/A4594ME.html).

Here (http://www.mhsc.ca/index.asp?content=http://www.mhsc.ca/encyclopedia/contents/A4594ME.html) is a local news article of a recent accident involving an Amish buggy.

Hugh Wyn Griffith
02-17-2005, 05:55 PM
<< I didn't know they drove on the left in Japan. >>

One of the surprisingly large number that still do -- quite why I don't know since Japan was vastly influenced by the USA.

I think Sweden is one of the few to have changed over from Left to Right in relatively recent years -- but they always had cars with the steering wheel on the Left even when driving on the left.

Steve Rindsberg
02-17-2005, 07:05 PM
But the drivers ARE on the right in Japan.

Steve Rindsberg
02-17-2005, 07:11 PM
A right-side drive car in a drive-on-the-right-side country is convenient at times. It makes parallel parking much simpler, for one thing.

And there's no end of fun watching the double-takes at traffic lights when the people next to you realize that (!) your car just drove off with nobody in the driver's seat.

It does tend to upset the passenger. I semi-seriously considered installing a toy steering wheel on the left side of the car to give them some feeling of control while I drove from the right. Hell, this was a Triumph. In the rain they'd probably have HAD more control than I did.

Steve Rindsberg
02-17-2005, 07:19 PM
One of the surprisingly large number that still do -- quite why I don't know since Japan was vastly influenced by the USA.>>

Not entirely, though. During the Meiji era after the country was no longer closed to the outside world, they sent representatives to all of the major Western nations and chose what they felt was the best of each. To this day, many schoolboys wear uniforms that are based on I think it was the German ones of the late 19th/early 20th century. ISTR that the postal system was based on England's; apparently so were the roads, but I'll have to see if I can scare up any old street scenes to see if "stay to the left" predates widespread use of automobiles.

What about pedestrians? Here we tend to move to the right in oncoming foot traffic as well. The first time I went to Japan I was forever having to swerve around people on the pavement until it struck me: Drive left, walk left, dummy!

Sidewalk Satori.

Richard Hunt
02-18-2005, 11:58 AM
I prefer to drive down the middle <g>

In some countries where there is a lot of unsealed road, that might be the only sensible option.

Richard Hunt

ktinkel
02-18-2005, 12:43 PM
Countries which drive on the left tend to be Commonwealth - Aus, NZ, SA, India, Burma, Malaysia, Singapore spring to mind. Also Ireland and Thailand, for some reason.Sweden used to drive that way, but changed a few years ago. That must have been fun.

PeterArnel
02-18-2005, 01:16 PM
But the drivers ARE on the right in Japan.

When I was in Japan in the early 1990's they drive on the same aide as Uk which is the left - but all the big cars were left hand drive - I said did they know that Mercs and BMW's were available with right hand drive - they looked at me as if I was mad - Driver sit next to pavement to let passenger out of the back
Peter

Michael Rowley
02-18-2005, 02:18 PM
Elyse:

'Such is the case here in southeastern Iowa with the Amish (http://www.mhsc.ca/index.asp?content=http://www.mhsc.ca/encyclopedia/contents/A4594ME.html)'

Do you mean to say that the driver sits on the left when driving a horse-drawn vehicle in other parts of the USA?

Incidentally, where I used to live in the Rhine Palatinate there were lots of Mennonites, mostly in particular villages, but they were esteemed as good farmers, which in that part of the world meant they had a few millions invested in equipment, which didn't include horses and buggies.

ElyseC
02-19-2005, 11:28 AM
Do you mean to say that the driver sits on the left when driving a horse-drawn vehicle in other parts of the USA?I don't know, but the horse-drawn vehicles I see here are Amish and the drivers all seem to be sitting on the right of the vehicle.

Incidentally, where I used to live in the Rhine Palatinate there were lots of Mennonites, mostly in particular villages, but they were esteemed as good farmers, which in that part of the world meant they had a few millions invested in equipment, which didn't include horses and buggies.Here, for the most part, Mennonites are generally more modern, but the Amish have stood pretty firm against modernization. That said, depending on what each district's bishops have approved, some Amish have tractors (but only with steel spike wheels, no rubber tires), some drive cars (but absolutely barebones models and black only - the "black-car Amish"), others might have electricity or telephone service, but only out in the barn. We have a LOT of friends who have Amish backgrounds.

Michael Rowley
02-19-2005, 04:27 PM
Elyse:

The Mennonites in the Rhine Palatinate flourished because the Prince-Elector of that land was pretty tolerant at a time when the Catholics and Protestants had agreed (at the end of the Thirty Years War) that the religion of the prince should be the religion of the people. They largely took over the deserted monasteries and, I fancy, some villages that were almost entirely deserted at the end of the war and long after. But of course they were not the Amish Mennonites.

BigJohnD
02-20-2005, 07:11 AM
Which countries drive on the right and which on the left ?
http://users.pandora.be/worldstandards/driving%20on%20the%20left.htm#population

The exception is Malta, who drive on the sunny side…

ElyseC
02-20-2005, 05:03 PM
Interesting. I don't know anything of their history before coming to the US, other than they, like many other groups, were seeking religious freedom.

ElyseC
02-20-2005, 05:03 PM
The exception is Malta, who drive on the sunny side…Sunny side?

curveto
02-20-2005, 07:23 PM
I prefer to drive down the middle <g>
I prefer to slalom down the lines in the middle.

<hehehe>

ElyseC
02-20-2005, 07:26 PM
I prefer to slalom down the lines in the middle.

<hehehe>You must have lots of close kin in southern California, from whence we moved five months ago (to Iowa). Lots of middle slalom drivers back there. ;-)

BigJohnD
02-21-2005, 09:57 AM
Sunny side?

Similarly, Iowa, where they drive on the snow-free side of the road.

PS What's snow? <g>

ElyseC
02-21-2005, 01:26 PM
Similarly, Iowa, where they drive on the snow-free side of the road.

PS What's snow? <g>Ah! I wondered if it was something like that. :-)

Snow? It's something to shock your system with after living the last 26 years in sunny, southern California. <g>

BigJohnD
02-21-2005, 02:24 PM
It's something to shock your system with after living the last 26 years in sunny, southern California.

Ah! Big shock.

Right now England is protecting the Principality from the icy north-eastern blast from the Urals.

http://bigjohnd.250free.com/dtpforum/walesweather.jpg

ElyseC
02-21-2005, 03:21 PM
Ah! Big shock.Indeed. <g> The worst thing hasn't really been the cold or snow as much as the ice and unusual ice storms. Kept my husband from work three days last month, mainly because ours is a private drive, jointly owned and maintained by all who live on it via our "road association". Being private, not owned by the county, it doesn't get plowed, scraped, salted, or resurfaced in any way unless we pay for it out of our association dues. We have contracted with a fellow who waits until the snow is two inches deep before he plows. Some of us have also contracted with him to clear our driveways, so we can get down to the street without shoveling it ourselves. It doesn't help much, however, with ice. The last ice storm we contracted with yet another fellow to sand the street. He also did our driveway, the angel. Until he did our driveway, we couldn't leave -- ours is rather steep and without sanding our vehicles would have slid backwards all the way down and right into the ditch across the street. We think (hope?) the ice storms are over for the season.

Lucky you, being shielded for the moment.

BigJohnD
02-22-2005, 05:43 PM
Lucky you, being shielded for the moment.

The Gulf Stream helps too, and explains why there are tropical plants growing on the West Coast of Scotland, some 56°N. The colder weather on the East explains "The Macallan", "The Glenlivet", "Glenfiddich" and other fine malts for keeping you warm…

The temp here tonight is 0°, and not windy, so it's OK.

Having your own snowploughman sounds expensive.

ElyseC
02-23-2005, 08:49 AM
Having your own snowploughman sounds expensive.Nah. Last month it cost us only $25 and the plowing of the street is paid for out of the funds of our annual street association fees ($120 per property x 11). Out of that fund also come regrading and regraveling costs, along with oiling (for dust control - usually in the warmer months), all as needed. $120/year is way less expensive than having our property taxes increased to have the county take over maintenance of this little road. Keeping it a privately-owned road also gives our little neighborhood the freedom to do what we want with it. We could even (if we can come up with $2000+ each property) have it chip-and-seal paved without having to petition the county, then wait for years for approval and county funds to be allocated.

Richard Hunt
02-23-2005, 12:53 PM
Snow? It's something to shock your system with after living the last 26 years in sunny, southern California. <g>

Iowa has the not-inconsiderable virtue of seismic stability though.

Richard

Michael Rowley
02-23-2005, 02:17 PM
Elyse:

'I don't know anything of their history before coming to the US'

You should read your own linked URLs! I didn't know they had so much history before reading that article about the varying dissent among the Amish!

ElyseC
02-24-2005, 10:56 AM
Iowa has the not-inconsiderable virtue of seismic stability though.Yes, compared to CA that's so. However, one of the largest North American quakes of all time happened on the New Madrid fault below us in Missouri. That quake was powerfull enough to permanently alter the course of the Mississippi River. It has had a (very) few shakes in my lifetime, one of which was in the mid to late 1960s and was definitely large enough to be felt here. My little home town just 15 minutes south of here has always had a sesmigraph going 24/7 at the fire station. I was in the building attached to the fire station when the quake happened that Saturday morning and remember the couple of on-duty firemen (mostly volunteer crew) dashing in all excited when the ground shook, talking excitedly about the sesmigraph. Up to that time I'd never heard of one.

ElyseC
02-24-2005, 11:06 AM
Elyse:

'I don't know anything of their history before coming to the US'

You should read your own linked URLs! I didn't know they had so much history before reading that article about the varying dissent among the Amish!I've not read all those (obviously), but from our former Amish and former Mennonite friends I've known there was a big split. Around here, if they focus on the groups' histories, it's just what has happened since arriving here in North America.

At this point I'm just glad my preschooler seems to be accepting their different attire and mode of transportation as simply being the norm for farmers. Being a city kid until now, all he's known of farms are what he's seen in story books and so many classic kid stories are from older times and the illos reflect that. His dad and I simply go about life as usual and treat everyone the same, so I think (hope?) the kid is simply accepting whatever we accept.