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If you visit this website with any frequency, chances are you're interested in driving laws/rules and idioms in general. You've probably asked the question, "Why do some countries drive on the left side of the road?". Well. Because Britain did, and they had HUGE influence on the world back in the days of colonization.

Think about countries that drive on the left. Jamaica, Cayman Islands, Australia, India, South Africa... the list goes on... all former colonies. Now. What about the source of all of Canada's RHD imports? Japan.

Well, Japan was occupied by Britain after World War II, which is a common thing to make sure the country that lost the war doesn't start it right back up again. So, driving on the left became the traffic laws.

But one island was occupied by the USA... so that island, which was (and is) owned by Japan was made to drive on the right!

Now, turns out there's a Geneva Convention on Road Traffic! From Geneva Convention on Road Traffic (1949):

All vehicular traffic proceeding in the same direction on any road shall keep to the same side of the road, which shall be uniform in each country for all roads

So, this island was in violation of this convention. So, they switched the side of the road the island drove on... in one day.

The islanders we not allowed do drive starting at 10pm on July 29, 1978. Overnight, all the signs changed sides of the roads, bus stops were moved and a lot of work was done.

The next day, July 30th (7th month, 30th day.... hence 730) people were allowed back on the road at 6am. The island brought in loads of police to help with the potential disaster that would ensue. And, from that day forward, all of Japan drove on the same side of the road!

LHD cars were then called 729 cars, and RHD cars were .... well, just cars!

Amazing story!

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  1. Nice read, thanks for sharing! :)

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