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Old 18th May 2017, 13:58   #1 (permalink)
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America and driving on the right

Just been talking to an American lady who, yesterday, had a go at driving in Jamaica and she remarked how difficult she found driving on the left.

I then pointed out that the Ford Model T had the steering wheel on the right.

Does anyone know why and when America started driving on the wrong side of the road?
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Old 18th May 2017, 14:12   #2 (permalink)
 
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When i do a quick google i find a lot pictures of the model T, some with the wheel on the right, most with the steering wheel on the left. Probably as the first internationally available car it had both versions available.

Thats what i found on wikipedia about right hand traffic in the US:
The first keep-right law for driving in the United States was passed in 1792 and applied to the Philadelphia and Lancaster Turnpike. New York formalised RHT in 1804, New Jersey in 1813 and Massachusetts in 1821.
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Old 18th May 2017, 14:13   #3 (permalink)
 
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Originally Posted by denachtenmai View Post
I then pointed out that the Ford Model T had the steering wheel on the right.
Those made in Manchester did, but most of the rest of the 15 million or so made were left handed.

ETA Many countries with right hand rule of the road had cars with right hand drive in their early days. One reason was that it was thought the driver needed to see the nearest edge of the road clearly, logic that applied to alpine buses and HGVs well into the late 20th century. Another reason was that a chauffeur would step out on to the pavement and open the (rear) door for his passenger.
French Grands Routiers were RHD into the 1950s as were their Italian equivalents, but I can't say I know why.
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Old 18th May 2017, 14:16   #4 (permalink)
 
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I understand it came from a custom adopted by teamsters. I suppose early colonists continued the British (and European at that time) practice of driving on the left - probably more accurately described as passing rightside to rightside.

But when driving a team, one is seated on the left-hand horse (whip in right hand to reach the horse on the right). Seated thus it made more sense to then pass oncoming teams leftside to leftside. Which then becomes driving on the right.

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Old 18th May 2017, 14:20   #5 (permalink)
 
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Wasn't it originally a German thing in the US?

So, if it hadn't been for the Germans, Septics would've been driving on the LHS of the road and they'd have been speaking English.

Who says the good guys always win?
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Old 18th May 2017, 14:20   #6 (permalink)
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Those made in Manchester did, but most of the rest of the 15 million or so made were left handed.
Thanks for that Allan, never knew that, it just seems to me that I have seen old American films with them in and the wheel was on the right, maybe it's my age
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Old 18th May 2017, 14:21   #7 (permalink)
 
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when driving a team, one is seated on the left-hand horse
Was that any different to Britain?



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Old 18th May 2017, 14:32   #8 (permalink)
 
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Originally Posted by denachtenmai View Post
Thanks for that Allan, never knew that, it just seems to me that I have seen old American films with them in and the wheel was on the right, maybe it's my age

It was not that uncommon for some of the older films (pre-sound, especially) to have been accidentally flip-flopped, seemingly showing right as left.
May have been the source of your RHD T model.
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Old 18th May 2017, 14:38   #9 (permalink)
 
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Was that any different to Britain?
No. As your piccies show, we Brits too sit on the lefthand horse when in a team.

But we just maintained the custom (originally a Papal instruction) to pass rightside to rightside, and, I read somewhere, team driving was less common in Britain.

Interestingly some 38% of the world still drives on the left and Sweden only changed to the right in late 60s.

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Old 18th May 2017, 14:39   #10 (permalink)
 
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And this same topic can lead, of course, to the history of LHD for fixed wing vs RHD for rotary wing.


Sikorsky being Russian had something to do with that, as I recall.


Rather strange to see, when visiting Khabarovsk (eastern Siberia) to see so many modern RHD vehicles being driven on a LHD traffic system.
All attributable to the ready supply of second-hand vehicles out of Japan, apparently. I suspect Vladivostok is somewhat similar.
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Old 18th May 2017, 14:47   #11 (permalink)

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Originally Posted by Allan Lupton View Post
ETA Many countries with right hand rule of the road had cars with right hand drive in their early days. One reason was that it was thought the driver needed to see the nearest edge of the road clearly, logic that applied to alpine buses and HGVs well into the late 20th century.
You been to Burma recently? - being a passenger in a car whose driver is doing blind overtakes of Chinese juggernauts all the time (with, of course, other people doing the same thing in the other direction at the same time) is not a relaxing experience.
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Old 18th May 2017, 14:51   #12 (permalink)
 
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About the turn of the century China banned the registration of RHD vehicles in China owing to the number of vehicles that materialised from Japan, Hong Kong and Macau without their owners permission.
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Old 18th May 2017, 14:57   #13 (permalink)
 
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Originally Posted by WingNut60 View Post
And this same topic can lead, of course, to the history of LHD for fixed wing vs RHD for rotary wing.


Sikorsky being Russian had something to do with that, as I recall.


Rather strange to see, when visiting Khabarovsk (eastern Siberia) to see so many modern RHD vehicles being driven on a LHD traffic system.
All attributable to the ready supply of second-hand vehicles out of Japan, apparently. I suspect Vladivostok is somewhat similar.
In my days of working in Russia, there were so many traffic accidents in Vladivostok, that Yeltsin managed to take his hands off a bottle of vodka long enough to sign a decree limiting the number of LHD vehicles in Russia, but whether it was ever fully enforced is entirely another matter...
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Old 18th May 2017, 15:01   #14 (permalink)
 
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Originally Posted by denachtenmai View Post
Just been talking to an American lady who, yesterday, had a go at driving in Jamaica and she remarked how difficult she found driving on the left.

I then pointed out that the Ford Model T had the steering wheel on the right.

Does anyone know why and when America started driving on the wrong side of the road?
Perhaps she should have practised in the US VI:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transp...Virgin_Islands
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Old 18th May 2017, 16:34   #15 (permalink)
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Gertrude, try to watch the old Top Gear Burma special, it's an eye opener to see right hand drive buses, driving on the right and disgorging passengers into the oncoming traffic because the doors are on the left.

Thanks for all the info folks, I will advise said lady and hope she doesn't drive in England, especially after trying to explain roundabouts to her
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Old 18th May 2017, 16:35   #16 (permalink)
 
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And this same topic can lead, of course, to the history of LHD for fixed wing vs RHD for rotary wing.
Sikorsky being Russian had something to do with that, as I recall.
Sikorsky started in the United State and the first ones built had the pilot in the middle. When they got bigger control arrangements and routing, because at that time it was all manual and involved a fair amount of muscle, meant that it was easier to put the pilot in the RHS as the collective, which moved most of the metal, was in the left hand with the rotor control mechanism being in the middle.

By the time the Russians got into the business hydraulic assistant was available so it didn't make a lot of difference. What is noticeable is that American main rotors are anti-clockwise looking from the top whereas European and Russian rotors rotate clockwise. This is because the Americans have always taken the drive off the aft of an engine, where the flywheel and clutch of a car is, where European and Russians have taken the drive off the front of an engine, think about propellers. When installing a piston engine to drive a rotor then the result is an opposite turning direction.
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Old 18th May 2017, 17:31   #17 (permalink)
 
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Originally Posted by Fareastdriver View Post
Sikorsky started in the United State and the first ones built had the pilot in the middle. When they got bigger control arrangements and routing, because at that time it was all manual and involved a fair amount of muscle, meant that it was easier to put the pilot in the RHS as the collective, which moved most of the metal, was in the left hand with the rotor control mechanism being in the middle.

By the time the Russians got into the business hydraulic assistant was available so it didn't make a lot of difference. What is noticeable is that American main rotors are anti-clockwise looking from the top whereas European and Russian rotors rotate clockwise. This is because the Americans have always taken the drive off the aft of an engine, where the flywheel and clutch of a car is, where European and Russians have taken the drive off the front of an engine, think about propellers. When installing a piston engine to drive a rotor then the result is an opposite turning direction.
Interestingly, UK helos generally have the same rotor direction as the US, it's the damned French that confuse things...........

It created a slight problem here with training, in that we used the Aerospatiale Gazelle for basic helicopter training, so students learned to deal with retreating blade stall in the opposite sense to the aircraft they would end up flying for most of their career. Thankfully it's a fairly rare problem, but it always struck me as a bit daft.
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Old 18th May 2017, 17:38   #18 (permalink)
 
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Interestingly, UK helos generally have the same rotor direction as the US, it's the damned French that confuse things...........
The so-called UK helos are licence built versions of American Sikorsky S51s, S55, S58 and S61s (Sea King)
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Old 18th May 2017, 17:45   #19 (permalink)
 
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The so-called UK helos are licence built versions of American Sikorsky S51s, S55, S58 and S61s (Sea King)
True for some, but not for our "home grown" helo's, like the Lynx, which is also CCW.
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Old 18th May 2017, 17:45   #20 (permalink)
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The so-called UK helos are licence built versions of American Sikorsky S51s, S55, S58 and S61s (Sea King)
What about the Bristol Sycamore?
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