Driving on the Left Side of the Road

The primary goal of our blog is to spread knowledge – not only deep historical knowledge or facts surrounding current events that have become somewhat muddled, but also random, everyday knowledge; knowledge about the kind of things that make you wonder “Huh, I  wonder where that came from.”  During Abe’s Etymology Hour, that is the sort of question we will attempt to answer. Etymology is the study of the origin of words and their development throughout history. We are particularly fascinated with words, and constantly find ourselves wondering where a word or phrase came from.  However, this  piece will not be limited to words – it will look into the origins of a plethora of everyday practices, items, habits, you name it!  If you have any ideas for us, leave us a comment and we will write a piece about it.

Today, we will look at an age-old question that has vexed us colonists for years – Why do the British drive on the left side of the road while most of the rest of the world drives on the right?  This can be eternally infuriating for Americans traveling to the UK, especially for those who have spent decades driving on the right side and know no other way.  While there were many economic and community planning factors behind these developments, one of the primary reasons has an unexpected but simple explanation: Right-Handedness and the age old tradition of dueling.   Continue reading