Street Survival - Advanced Defensive Driving

DANGERS > ROAD > SIDE

Side (Road)

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In this part of the course, we have an in-depth look at the risks that arise when vehicles enter or exit the mainstream of traffic from a side road:

? Questions:

Dangers Road Side

Into

Oblivious

This section highlights that despite being in full view, you cannot assume that the other driver will not proceed into your path while crossing into a side road.

Blocking

A driver enters a side road very slowly or even coming to a dead stop directly in the path of an oncoming vehicle.

Obscured

There are certain physical objects that can limit the view of a vehicle entering a side road and crossing into the path of the main traffic.

Hasty

A driver entering a side road would take uncharacteristic risks when pressed for time.

Speed

Speed can be a danger when entering a side road.

Both high and low speeds pose their own unique perils.

Out Of

Blocking

A driver exits a side road very slowly or even coming to a dead stop directly in the path of an oncoming vehicle.

Oblivious

This section highlights that despite being in full view, you cannot assume that the other driver will not proceed into your path while exiting from a side road.

Obscured

There are certain physical objects that can limit the view of a vehicle exiting from a side road and crossing into the path of the main traffic.

Hasty

A driver exiting a side road would take uncharacteristic risks when pressed for time.

Speed

Speed can be a danger when exiting from a side road.

Both high and low speed pose their own unique perils.

Following Others

At times drivers blindly follow others by assuming it is clear to go.

? Why do we drive on different sides of the road?

The practice of driving on different sides of the road can be traced back to historical and cultural factors. The majority of countries today follow one of two systems: driving on the right side of the road (right-hand traffic) or driving on the left side of the road (left-hand traffic).

  • Historical reasons: The historical development of road systems played a significant role in determining which side of the road people drove on. In ancient times, people generally walked or rode on the left side of the road to keep their dominant hand (usually the right hand) free for self-defense or interacting with others. This tradition carried over into horse-drawn carriages and later into motor vehicles.

  • Influence of Napoleon: In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, Napoleon Bonaparte's armies spread the practice of driving on the right side of the road as they conquered and occupied various territories. This change was intended to enhance military efficiency and create uniformity across the conquered regions. Many countries that were under French rule or influence adopted right-hand traffic.

  • Influence of British Empire: The British Empire had a significant impact on the spread of left-hand traffic. British colonies and territories, including those in North America, Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean, generally adopted the practice of driving on the left side of the road. Even after gaining independence, many former British colonies maintained left-hand traffic.

  • Standardization and modernization: As transportation and communication improved over time, countries often sought to harmonize their road systems with neighboring countries for ease of travel and trade. This led to standardization, with many countries adopting either right-hand traffic or left-hand traffic to align with their neighbors.

It's important to note that the decision to drive on the right or left side of the road is arbitrary and does not have a significant impact on road safety. Each system has its own advantages and disadvantages. However, consistency in traffic direction within a country is crucial to maintain order and prevent accidents.

Today, the majority of the world drives on the right side of the road, including countries such as the United States, Canada, Germany, France, and China. However, there are still several countries and territories, including the United Kingdom, Australia, India, Japan, and South Africa, where driving on the left side is the norm.

? Which side of the road is safer to drive on?

There is no definitive answer as to which side of the road is inherently safer to drive on. The safety of driving on a particular side depends on various factors, including local traffic laws, road infrastructure, driver behavior, and the adherence to traffic rules and regulations.

In countries where right-hand traffic is followed (driving on the right side of the road), the infrastructure and traffic patterns are typically designed to accommodate this system. Similarly, in countries with left-hand traffic, the road infrastructure and traffic flow are organized accordingly.

Switching from one system to the other can initially cause confusion and challenges for drivers accustomed to a particular side. Therefore, maintaining consistency within a country or region is crucial to ensure safe driving practices and minimize the risk of accidents.

Regardless of the side of the road, safe driving practices and adherence to traffic rules are essential for overall road safety. This includes following speed limits, maintaining a safe distance from other vehicles, using signals correctly, avoiding distractions, and being aware of and yielding to pedestrians and cyclists.

It's also important for drivers to adapt to the local driving norms and regulations when traveling internationally. Familiarize yourself with the specific driving rules and practices of the country you are visiting or driving in to ensure a safe and smooth driving experience.

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Street Survival - Advanced Defensive Driving