RightHandDrive.ca/blog Canadian Right Hand Drive News and Thoughts


What are the controls like in a Right Hand Drive car?

This question isn't as simple as it might seem. I'll tell you what I know, and then I'll tell you what the internet knows.

To get it out of the way I'll tell you straight off that the pedals are in the same order as LHD cars. Accelerator on the far right, then the brake to the left of that and then to the left of that, the clutch... if you have one. So, this carries over no problem.

The shifter is still in the middle of the car. No shocker there.  For cars with manual transmissions you'll find that they have the same shift pattern as LHD cars. It's actually quite natural to shift with the left hand.  My opinion is that 75%+ of the world is right handed.  So, why would we make the majority of the population shift (the easy job) with their dominant hand and drive with the less useful hand?

My radio, though I don't know about others, is backwards. The volume knob is on the far right and the tuner is on the far left.... confuses the heck out of everyone. But that might be a one-off.

Ok, now for the messy part. The signal lights and wiper controls. These are opposite on right hand drive cars. So, you'll probably turn on the wipers when trying to signal a few times in the first week.


That's only in Japanese vehicles. Or, I should say, the common layout for controls in Japanese vehicles.

I've been told that right hand drives in the UK have the signal controls on the left, much like North American LHDs. The learning curve might be a little simpler for North Americans in this instance. But, after talking to a few Brits before this post it sounds like it's more of a mixed bag of signal light control locations.

If you're considering a right hand drive and are worried about the controls, don't be. I switch between right and left hand cars on a regular basis and it's never an issue.  I'd say I choose the wrong control and turn on the windshield wipers about once a month because I switch back and forth... but most people wouldn't even notice that something went wrong as long as you don't panic.