Why Indonesia Is A Left-Driving Country



Markus Wisnu Murti

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  • Illustration of a car steering wheel. Hyundaimobil.co.id

    Illustration of a car steering wheel. Hyundaimobil.co.id

    TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Globally, there are right-driving and left-driving countries, which are based on the lane position cars drive on public roads. 

    The term left or right driving explains the driving position of vehicles on public roads (left or right lane) while the term left or right-hand-drive explains the position of the steering wheel in a vehicle.

    Citing worldstandards.eu, about 35% of the world population drives on the left, and the countries that do are mostly old British colonies while the majority of the others drive on the right lane. Examples of the former with cars being right-hand-drives are the U.K, Japan, Australia, India, Singapore, Hong Kong and Indonesia. 

    “In the past, almost everybody travelled on the left side of the road because that was the most sensible option for feudal, violent societies. Since most people are right-handed, swordsmen preferred to keep to the left in order to have their right arm nearer to an opponent and their scabbard further from him,” as cited from the worldstandards.eu website. 

    British colonialism contributed to Indonesia and the majority of Southeast Asian countries implementing the concept of right-hand-driving. Citing carmudi.co.id, the left-driving Indonesia implemented was based on many variables as in the past cars that were imported mostly consisted of right-hand-drive cars during the colonial age. 

    Cars made by Japanese auto manufacturers eventually grabbed the interest of the Indonesian public due to its affordable prices compared to European car makers that implement left-hand-drive cars. Similarities in the average posture of Indonesian people compared to Japanese people also contributed to the choice of adopting a left-driving system.

    Read: New Toyota Tech Unit Promises World's Safest Drive