Why do French drive on the right?
If you’ve ever driven in France, you may have been surprised to find that the French drive on the right-hand side of the road. This is in contrast to many other European countries, such as the United Kingdom, which drive on the left. In this article, we’ll explore the reasons why the French drive on the right.
- Historical tradition The tradition of driving on the right side of the road in France dates back to the 18th century. At the time, horse-drawn carriages were common, and drivers would sit on the left-hand side of the carriage in order to keep their right hand free to use a whip. By driving on the right-hand side of the road, the driver could keep a better eye on oncoming traffic.
- Political influence After the French Revolution, there was a push to standardize many aspects of French life, including road travel. In 1794, the National Convention passed a decree mandating that all road users should drive on the right-hand side of the road, in order to create a unified and standardized system of road travel.
- Geographic proximity France is surrounded by countries that also drive on the right-hand side of the road, such as Germany, Belgium, and Switzerland. This geographic proximity has likely contributed to the continued tradition of driving on the right in France.
- Safety concerns Studies have shown that driving on the right-hand side of the road can be safer than driving on the left. This is because drivers are less likely to be distracted by oncoming traffic, and there is less chance of head-on collisions.
- Economic factors Finally, it’s worth noting that changing the side of the road on which a country drives can be an expensive and complex process. This may be a factor in why the tradition of driving on the right has continued in France, as it would be a significant undertaking to switch to driving on the left.
In conclusion, the tradition of driving on the right in France dates back to the 18th century and has been influenced by historical, political, geographic, and safety factors. While driving on the right may seem unusual to those from countries that drive on the left, it is an important part of French culture and a key aspect of road travel in the country.