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American Rule of the Road.

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Rule of the Road.

The New York Times
December 7, 1909


To the Editor of The New York Times:
In your account of "Change of the Rule of the Road" in France you ask whether the American rule of driving on the right side of the road was adopted by way of protest against British customs.  Our rule arose very naturally from the practice of drivers over poor roads in new countries having to guard against the ditch rather than watch for the infrequent vehicle coming from the opposite direction.  As the driver's seat is on the right, he can thus avoid going into the ditch or getting off the road. If he were to keep to the left in addition to not having as good a watch for the extreme left a wagon coming from the opposite direction would tend to force him off the road and into the ditch.  This practice, adopted by necessity, hardened into custom and is now law.
B. T.
New York, Dec. 6, 1909

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