Trivia: Did you know that left-hand driving evolved back in the medieval times? Since majority of knights were right-handed, they preferred travelling at the left side of the road so they can easily draw their sword and fight their opponent using their dominant hand. Add to that, it’s most sensible to mount a horse at the left side of the road since it’s away from traffic.
We may not be drawing swords or fighting tooth and nail anymore, but left-hand driving continued to spread in different parts of the world. Since around 90% of the population was right-handed, driving at the left side was basically common sense.
So, how then did right-hand driving exist? We have Napoleon Bonaparte and the French aristocrats to thank for that. According to literature, the left-handed French emperor ordered his men to travel at the right side of the road so he can free his left hand in case of an attack. Also, since most aristocrats occupied the left side of the road, peasants were forced to travel at the right side. As the French revolution continued, this driving mode was adopted by France until it reached other countries, including Japan and the UK.
Interesting Facts: To the Left or to the Right?
- The main difference between a right and a left-hand drive vehicle in manual transmission is shifting gears.
- In the past, the USA used the right-hand driving system.
- Ford was one of the first US-based car manufacturers that switched from right to left-hand drive vehicles back in the early 20th century. According to the company, left-hand driving greatly improves safety since the driver can easily spot incoming vehicles.
- At present, only four European countries use the left-hand driving system. These countries include Malta, Ireland, Cyprus and the United Kingdom.
- Austria used both driving systems until Hitler mandated all drivers to adopt the right-hand drive during the Hitler invasion in the year 1938.
- The right-hand driving system was introduced by Napoleon in countries like Poland, Germany, Switzerland and Belgium.
From Right to Left: What You Need to Know about Conversion
Finally decided to import used Japanese cars? Good for you! But first, let us guide you in choosing–and, if necessary, converting–a vehicle.
Japan cars are typically designed for right-hand driving, so if you live in a country that implements left-hand driving, you may have to get the car converted before importation.
So what happens during wheel conversion? Is it safe to convert a vehicle?
Wheel conversion includes both technical and electronic work, so if you are planning to import car from Japan to USA or to any country that only allows left-hand drive vehicles on its shores, you’d need to ask assistance from professionals who can safely convert the vehicle.
To give you a glimpse, below are some of the procedures included in wheel conversion:
- Rack and pinion exchange
- Shift knob replacement
- Dashboard positioning and repainting
- Steering wheel positioning
- Air conditioning evaporator duct positioning
So if you are planning to buy used Japanese cars from JDM, don’t forget to ask our assistance if you need your vehicle converted. This way, you can avoid importation problems and just enjoy a hassle-free car importation process.