Is driving on the right side of the lane safer than the other?

Updated Jun 18, 2018 | Same topic: Let's Drive Smart!

This article will help you understand the distinction between driving on the left and on the right of the road.

People who frequently travel abroad and have some experience driving in foreign countries might at one point wonder, is driving on the right side of the road inherently safer than on the other? What is the difference(s) between them? And why some countries prefer one side of the lane to another? Look through our article on to get the answer.

Driving on the left side or on the right side?

Currently, there are a large number of countries where left-side driving is more prevalent such as Hong Kong, India, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, Australia. Driving habits of a nation seem to depend on a lot of factors and hence very hard to change or break, not to mention the law. But wherever you are, you certainly asked yourself this very question at some point in your life: which side is safer and easier, the left side or the right side?

According to a longitudinal study conducted by Prof. J. J. Leeming from 1969 to recently, most countries with left-side driving law actually have a lower rate of traffic-related accidents than the others, contrary to popular belief.

To explain this phenomenon, Prof. Leeming uses a basic biological knowledge. The right eye of us human is usually sharper and clearer than the left eye, and that is the reason why driving on the left side of the road is considered safer. Because in that case, drivers will use the right eye to watch traffic in the opposite direction.

A driver getting out from a right-side driving Lexus

Left or Right?

In addition, some theories suggest that left-side driving is more suitable for the elderly people since the vision of the left eye gets worse as we age, hence making it more difficult to observe traffic on the left lane and/or at the intersections.

Also, when driving manual cars with steering wheels designed on the right side, drivers will use their right hand more than their left, because right-handedness is much more common, leaving the left hand free for other tasks such as controlling the manual stick, reaching for their foods, changing music on the radio or talking on the phone.

>>> Also check out:

Why Some Countries Drive on the Right and Some on the Left

A man wearing glasses driving a car

The position of the wheel could make a big difference

Just like with a bicycle, a bike or a horse, we always hop on our vehicles from the left side because we deem it is safer. The same rule applies for 4-wheeled vehicles. You might feel a bit nervous if you happen to travel to countries with wheels on the right side of the vehicle because you’re not familiar with looking to the right side while driving.

>>> Click here to catch more helpful tips and advice for your safe driving