It’s absolutely definitely better to drive on the side that is appropriate according to the laws of the country you are driving in. This is positively the most important factor in any decision process selecting a side of the road for driving. Ignore it at your peril (and the peril of others, which is so utterly not cool).
There probably is an objectively better solution, but I certainly don’t have any idea myself, and these things have been fixed in habit for so long that it’s kind of irrelevant. Once something is learned a certain way, it feels right that way. Habit is a great reinforcer, and as soon as you start doing the opposite of your habit, you’ll know.
But it’s odd. I kind of assume it’s better to drive on the right side, purely because that’s not what we do. This isn’t purely about being contrary, but because our system is based on jousting, which doesn’t seem like the most important point of consideration. Seriously, in this country we let weird historic precedent dictate so much bullshit for us. We’re sniffy about the yanks for their lack of history (when in fact their history starts with us going over there and obliterating the natives), even though our history basically just means that our laws don’t make any sense or bear any relationship to the modern world.
I won’t even get started on the Royals and First Past the Post and other flaws in our systems of governance.
The way we drive on our roads should be dictated by what is safest, what is environmentally sound and what is best for the community.
I realise I’m probably quite radical when it comes to this, but I kinda think we shouldn’t be driving in towns for the most part. Everytime I see a road, I see a public space that’s been given over to one particular type of infrastructure (deadly and polluting) without any concern for anything else, purely because it’s our default way of thinking about movement.
The changes needed to reduce the number of roads in our towns and cities, and reclaim some of that space for the whole of the public, are dramatic. But that’s no reason we shouldn’t start thinking of them.
In short, to my mind, it’s better to drive on neither side of the road. My new little cul-de-sac would make a lovely idyllic green space if we grassed over the road. Couple of benches, some turf and some trees, and I’d feel like I was in paradise.
I’m so wishful, when it comes to this, but I think we should focus on positive ways we can deal with the forthcoming collapse of our privileged society.
We need to learn to change.
Change sides, change habits, change traditions.
It’s not as scary or unrealistic as you think. We just all do need to think.
And then we need to do.
Do exactly what we think is right.
Might not be easy.
Illustration by Emma.