When right is wrong

Sandra Harwitt

Tourists are greeted with bold reminders of traffic flow on London streets.

With my job as a sportswriter and love of travel, I've been to a lot of places in this great big world.

So far, I've been to five continents: North America, South America, Europe, Asia and Australia. I'm working on an African safari and Antarctica cruise to fill in the gaps.

In my travels, I've been to many locales where, in my American estimation, they drive on the wrong side of the road. The British pushed that fad on the rest of their empire. Many of those places have kept to the practice: Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Ireland and the Bahamas.

I feel it's contrary to how the majority of people around the globe are programmed because more people tend to be right-handed than left-handed. In my mind, that tends to make people right-side dominant -- this includes which direction to look first when crossing the street.

When driving on the so-called “wrong” side, there are some adjustments that need to be made. One of the biggest issues is that when you want to use your turn signal, you end up turning on your windshield wipers.

But this challenging phenomenon affects more than the international drivers willing to give it a go behind the wheel.

Pedestrians can put life and limb on the line just crossing the street. Those of us from the world where the driving is done on the “right” side of the road automatically look to the right when crossing the street. That would be a very dangerous move in the countries that follow British driving customs.

Here in the heart of London, the locals have taken into account that their city is a popular tourist destination. So they do their best to prevent any missteps. How? They give you cheat signs -- big and bold -- telling you which way to look for oncoming traffic.

Now, if they could only swap the turn signal with the windshield wipers, all would be right with the world.