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Countries that drive on the left

Countries that drive on the left

What countries drive on the left? Here’s a complete list of all countries that drive on the left as well as territories. You an also read how long they have had left-hand traffic and why.

Most countries that drive on the left today are former British colonies, but there are a few exceptions. Even my own country Sweden, used to have left-hand traffic. This was changed overnight in 1967, when Sweden switched to right-hand traffic on 3 September. 

The switch happened on 04:49 and all cars that were out driving, had to switch sides with each other. There are many other countries in the world that have made the switch from left-hand traffic to right-hand traffic in the last 100 years. 

Some of the most notable ones include Netherlands, South Korea, Portugal, the Philippines and Iceland. Even the United States drove on the left side in the early years of English colonization, before gaining their independence. 

United Kingdom

The British Empire, nowadays known as the United Kingdom introduced left-hand traffic in their colonies around the world. And while most former colonies have gained their independence, they still kept the rule of driving on the left side of the road. 

And the UK is still driving on the left, even though most countries in Europe are driving on the right. There are two exceptions to this rule within the United Kingdom.

These are Gibraltar and the British Indian Ocean Territory where they have right-hand traffic. In Gibraltar, they are driving on the right to ease transportation between neighbouring Spain. 

Cyprus, India, Kenya, and Sri Lanka are some examples of former British colonies, where they are still driving on the left side of the road.

Left-hand side traffic in the United Kingdom

Photo: Jaroslaw Kilian /


Thailand is one of few countries that drive on the left side that has never been a British colony. Despite having neighbouring countries that drive on the right side of the road, they have kept left-hand traffic in Thailand. 

Read More: Travel to Thailand

Cars driving on the left side in Thailand

Photo: FeelGoodLuck /


Japan is also one of the few left side driving countries that hasn’t been a British colony. The law was introduced in 1924, and both left hand drive cars and right hand drive cars are allowed on the Japanese roads. 

On the Okinawan Islands, they observed right-hand traffic between 1945 and 1978. At the end of World War II, the United States occupied Okinawa for the next 27 years, before returning the islands to Japan. Since 30th July 1978, they have been driving on the left side of the road in Okinawa as well, just like in the rest of the country. 

Read more: Interesting facts about Japan

Cars driving on the left side in Japan

Photo: WSW1985 /


Australia is a former British colony and since it was ruled by the Brits, they adopted left side driving as well. Even after the country gained its independence, they kept the rule of driving on the left side of the road, just like neighbouring New Zealand. 

Read more: Interesting facts about Australia

Left-hand side traffic in Australia


Samoa is another country that is driving on the left, and contrary to other left-driving countries, Samoa has a purely economic reason behind the decision.

They changed from right-hand traffic in 2009. The reason why they introduced left-side traffic in Samoa was because they wanted to be able to import cheaper cars from Australia, New Zealand, and Japan. 

Samoa is a country where they drive on the left


Suriname is one out of two countries that drive on the left in South America, together with Guyana. Suriname is a former Dutch colony and that is why they have left-hand side traffic They never switched to right-hand side traffic. 

Both left-hand and right-hand driven cars are allowed on the roads in Suriname.

Cars driving on the left side in Suriname

Photo: Matyas Rehak /


Indonesia was previously a Dutch colony and the Dutch used to have left-hand side traffic. When Indonesia became independent, they kept this tradition. Later on, when Indonesia occupied East Timor, they imposed the rule of driving on the left side there as well. 

Read more: Interesting facts about Indonesia

Left-hand side traffic in Indonesia

How many countries drive on the left side of the road?

There is a total of 79 countries and territories that have left-hand traffic worldwide. This is equal to a little more than 1/3 of all countries in the world. 

List of all countries that drive on the left

Below is a list of all left side driving countries, sorted in alphabetical order. 

  1. Antigua and Barbuda
  2. Australia
  3. Bahamas
  4. Bangladesh
  5. Barbados
  6. Bhutan
  7. Botswana
  8. Brunei
  9. Cook Islands
  10. Cyprus
  11. Dominica
  12. East Timor
  13. Fiji
  14. Grenada
  15. Guyana
  16. India
  17. Indonesia
  18. Ireland
  19. Jamaica
  20. Japan
  21. Kenya
  22. Kiribati
  23. Lesotho
  24. Malawi
  25. Malaysia
  26. Maldives
  27. Malta
  28. Mauritius
  29. Mozambique
  30. Namibia
  31. Nauru
  32. Nepal
  33. New Zealand
  34. Pakistan
  35. Papua New Guinea
  36. Saint Lucia
  37. Saint Kitts and Nevis
  38. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  39. Seychelles
  40. Singapore
  41. Solomon Islands
  42. South Africa
  43. Sri Lanka
  44. Surinam
  45. Swaziland
  46. Tanzania
  47. Thailand
  48. Trinidad & Tobago
  49. Tonga
  50. Tuvalu
  51. Uganda
  52. United Kingdom
  53. Zambia
  54. Zimbabwe

Territories where they drive on the left

  • Andaman & Nicobar islands (India)
  • Anguilla (UK)
  • Bermuda
  • British Virgin Islands
  • Cayman Islands
  • Falkland Islands
  • Hong Kong (China)
  • Isle of Man
  • Macau (China)
  • Montserrat (UK)
  • Niue (New Zealand)
  • Pitcairn islands
  • Tokelau
  • Turks & Caicos islands
  • U.S Virgin Islands

More reading from the world

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