1. turbofiat124

    turbofiat124 Loyal Comrade

    I’ve heard a few people make this stupid comment. Or at least I think it’s stupid. When they ask me about my Trabant, they sometimes point out that it’s left hand drive. I’m thinking, “Yeah so, the car is from Germany. Mainland Europe drives on the right hand side of the road, only Ireland, the UK and islands under the crown drives on the left hand side of the road”.

    I have no idea why someone even wonder about that. Is it because some people think just because Britain and Ireland drive on the left hand side of the road, the rest of Europe does to? Or the United States is the only country that drives on the right? Or countries in the Western Hemisphere drive on the right and countries in the Eastern Hemisphere drive on the left?

    After I explain that mainland Europe drives on the right, I blow their mind even more by explaining that Sweden was the last country in mainland Europe to drive on the left hand side of the road, yet they drove left hand drive cars and switched to the right in 1967 in the middle of the night.

    I realize most Americans have never been outside the United States. We may lead a sheltered life here in this country. I’ve been fortunate enough to visit Europe and experience different cultures. Even though going from one region of the United States to another is like going to a foreign country. Like German based cuisine in Pennsylvania.

    I’m just wondering if any of you guys have ever heard this same comment before because it sounds rather odd to me.

    I found this interested though on Wikipedia. I initially thought the US Virgin islands were purchased by the United States from Britain but apparently they were under Danish control until 1917. Shows how much I know about my own country’s history!

    The U.S. Virgin Islands is the only U.S. jurisdiction which drives on the left. This was inherited from what was then-current practice on the islands at the time of the 1917 transfer to limit losses of livestock. As most cars being imported from the mainland United States are left-hand drive, the driver sits to the outside of the road, raising traffic safety issues.
  2. mbeamish

    mbeamish Loyal Comrade

    Lots of former british colonies still drive on left ( ie austrailia,south africa etc ),so does japan, japanese 'grey imports' are common in ireland for this reason but i think world wide most countries are now LHD
  3. turbofiat124

    turbofiat124 Loyal Comrade

    American Samoa recently switched to driving on the left and RHD cars. The reason was they were closer to New Zealand than Hawaii so it was cheaper to import cars from New Zealand.

    If you ever notice that in Eastern Siberia (like the city of Vladivostok for example) there are some RHD cars. Supposedly for the same reason. It's cheaper to import used cars from Japan because it's closer than Russia.
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2015
  4. Zausel

    Zausel Loyal Comrade

    I think it is ignorance. I hear this a lot too. People assume Europe = England = white Europeans around the world and then I explain and they get really confused.
  5. Caleb

    Caleb Loyal Comrade

    Hear the same thing all the time. A lot of people around me think the Trabant is a British car to begin with so I already have to correct them. like Zausel said I think a lot of it is just ignorance (not stupidity). People don't know any better as they have never been over there. You hear "people drive on the other side of the road in Europe" so people assume it the whole continent instead of just a country or two. I think some people probably think of it like the metric system, the whole world does it one way and here in the good ol' U.S. of A. we do it our way ;).

    My wife works for a company that sells and operates WWII historical tours in Europe (thats how we met) and their primary/target audience is Americans. Without fail every tour they operate at least once if not 5-10 times someone asks about driving on the left vs. driving on the right, or they are surprised that on the mainland they are driving on the right
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2015
  6. Zausel

    Zausel Loyal Comrade

    exactly that
  7. 1983JZR3W

    1983JZR3W Puttering Along

    My JZR in my avatar is RHD and is from England. When at a car event, show or cruise-in, I get a lot of questions as to why it is RHD and is it even legal in the US. As previously stated, most Americans have traveled little outside the US and get confused pretty easily. I was at a large southeastern British car show a few years ago and had the only RHD at the show out of over 200 entries.
  8. mbeamish

    mbeamish Loyal Comrade

    You would think though they would realise from watching TV and films from britain and europe
  9. Zausel

    Zausel Loyal Comrade

    I doubt most people would watch a British show as most Americans hate watching films with subtitles ;)
    Keri likes this.
  10. turbofiat124

    turbofiat124 Loyal Comrade

    Well I for one hate watching films with subtitles! But sometimes I turn them on.

    One of my favorite movies was 28 days later and (28 weeks later?) but when the characters were talking while trying to catch their breath after running from zombies or whispering (so the zombies wouldn't hear them), I had a hard time understanding what they were saying so I'd turn the subtitles on. I mean I can understand someone with a British accent just fine but in a movie sometimes it's hard to do.

    But to be fair about it, I sometimes have the same trouble watching movies with American actors as well so it must not be an accent thing.

    And here lately allot of shows on TV have background music that is louder than the people talking! That really get's on my nerves. Discovery channel is bad about that.
  11. Zausel

    Zausel Loyal Comrade

    I threw my TV away.
    Keri likes this.
  12. Obviously you are correct. Our American cousins are much more parochial than much of the rest of the world. I suggest it is because so many live relatively isolated from civilised society despite enjoying unique cultural qualities. It is more a case of 'innocence', rather than 'ignorance', I believe ?
  13. mbeamish

    mbeamish Loyal Comrade

  14. Caleb

    Caleb Loyal Comrade

    I meant ignorance in the sense of just not knowing any better or a lack of information. It is true many Americans have not been outside of the country, but to say that we "live relatively isolated from civilised society " is a bit of a stretch.
  15. Zausel

    Zausel Loyal Comrade

    Shaun of the Dead made it big here...the only Zombie movie I have liked sofar.

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