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The Contender
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The whole world should drive on the right (i.e. the left) side of the road.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/7/2014 Category: Cars
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,408 times Debate No: 51809
Debate Rounds (2)
Comments (2)
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While motorists in civilised countries such as Britain, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa drive on the correct side of the road: i.e. the left-hand side; the heathen cannibals, warpath-dancing savages and insurgent colonials in parts of Asia, Africa and the Americas insist in driving on the wrong side of the road: i.e. the right-hand side of the road. [1,2,3]

This means global car manufacturers such as Toyota, Land Rover, Nissan, Jaguar, Mitsubishi, Bentley, Honda, Rolls-Royce, Suzuki, Aston-Martin and Subaru have to spend lots of money converting cars from right-hand drive to left-hand drive for certain foreign markets, and those costs are passed on to consumers worldwide.

Now, if only everybody drove on the left-hand side of the road billions would be saved in development costs and we would all pay less for new cars.

Thank you.



Greetings, Mr. Eggleston, I have seen your work on this site and it is an honor to debate you. You are indeed a very accomplished and skilled debater. I hope you don't mind someone who's kind of a noob taking the debate. :D
Since Pro did not specify whether first round is for acceptance or not, I will make a case for why the whole world should NOT switch to driving on the "right" side of the road (that is, literally the left side).
From THIS POINT forward in my argument, to avoid confusion, "right side of the road" refers to literally the right-hand side of the road.
I'll begin by noting the map that Pro sourced in his first reference. I encourage all of you following the debate to look at it- there are enormous amounts of countries that drive on the right side of the road. There are a few notable countries that drive on the left, such as India, the UK, Australia and Japan.
But, the three most powerful nations in the world- the USA, Russia and China- ALL drive on the right side of the road. [1]
Suppose the whole world were to enact a massive change to driving on the left-hand side of the road. Pro claims that it would save billions in automobile development. But what about everything else? Pro must not have taken into account the MASSIVE changes in infrastructure such a change would bring require. You would not only need to switch around ALL the road signs in right-hand-driving world, but many existing highway interchanges and exits would become useless. According to BBC, about one in 10 motorway junctions are incomplete or asymmetric. This would require rebuilding those junctions, which obviously costs money. The British government calculated that it would have cost them 264 million pounds to overhaul the system in 1969, which translates to about 3.4 billion today. [2] The USA alone has the most road mileage in the world with 6,586,610 km. China is third with 4,106,387, and Russia is fifth with 1,283,387. Imagine the immense cost involved in changing from the right to the left in the USA, let alone the cost combined with China and Russia! [3]
Again, Pro says that the change would save us billions in the auto industry, but it would also COST billions upon billions. I was also amused by his treatment of people in Asia/Africa/Americas as "heathen cannibals, warpath-dancing savages and insurgent colonials." Especially considering the nations that drive on the LEFT, if you don't consider only Britain, Japan, Australia and India. You get all sorts of things like random islands that may better fit that rather strong description [4]

( I realize that sourcing Yahoo Answers would generally not be considered good referencing, but it is nevertheless instructive for this discussion.)
Debate Round No. 1


I would like to thank Gordontrek for his kind words and for accepting this challenge.

In response to my opponent's cost rebuttal I should like to argue that there"s no need to spend billions reconfiguring junctions, asymmetric or otherwise. Imagine you are viewing aerial footage of traffic negotiating an intersection. Now, imagine running the film in reverse. Do all the cars crash? No, of course not. It's just like reversing the flow of electricity in a circuit, it doesn't matter which way the current flows, the appliance still works.

All that needs to be done with the roads is to turn some signs around and repaint some road-markings, small beer compared with the savings made through standardising the steering mechanisms on cars worldwide.

We should remember that most developed countries that now drive on the wrong side of the road, including the USA, used to drive on the left. The reason for this was that most people are right handed and in the days before cars were common and horse-drawn transportation was the norm, it was more convenient to slash an approaching enemy with one's sword as he passed by on one's right-hand side.

You may think that this is irrelevant now that people no longer routinely carry swords but think about it: these days people carry guns instead, and shooting a motorist that has irritated you in some way is so much easier sitting on the right-hand side of the car than the left, at least for people who are right handed anyway.

Moving on it is true that the USA and China have huge populations but so do many of the countries that drive on the left: India has 1.184 billion (just slightly less than China); Indonesia 234 million (just slightly less than USA); while Pakistan has 170 million and Bangladesh has 164 million inhabitants (both comfortably more populous than Russia). {1]

Also, spare a thought for people in France, Germany, Italy and most other European countries who drive over to Britain to see for themselves what a civilised country is like. When they emerge from the Channel Tunnel or a cross-Channel ferry they will suddenly find their steering wheels are on the wrong side of the car! Obviously this is very dangerous, especially when overtaking, because they cannot see what is coming towards them on the opposite side of the road.

In conclusion, we now live in a global village and it makes perfect sense for everybody to drive on the right, i.e. the left, side of the road.

Thank you.



Thanks for posting your argument.

Pro begins by stating that switching from being a right-hand-side country to a left-hand-side country would only require flipping road signs around and repainting road direction.
He states simply that we should imagine watching traffic footage backwards, and this shows how simple the change would be. I should note that I backed up the fact that many interchanges and such things with a source (#2 in my previous argument) but Pro insists that switching from right to left is as simple as flipping the signs and paint around.
Here's a random section of roadway I zoomed into on Google Earth that immediately has a problem that jumps out at me:
road-present photo road-present_zpsce0b505c.jpg

The arrow is pointing out a TURN LANE which is necessary to allow traffic to turn into the strip mall. Why is it necessary? Because if it weren't there, traffic, especially if heavy during rush hour, would have to slam on their brakes to allow a motorist to turn into it. With the turn lane, motorists who are going into the strip mall can slide into the lane without endangering or slowing down traffic behind them. If traffic were to flow the other way with the road in its current state, motorists would face the very situation that the turn lane is made to avoid. Not to mention, a whole new turn lane would have to be put in and perhaps the old one stripped up.
I remind you that this is a random section of road I found on Google Earth (I can't even remember where I found it) and you could probably find many more similar situations if you play around with the program for a while. So, this is one more example of a road situation that would require correction if the U.S. were to switch to the left side of the road.

Pro brought up an interesting fact about why many countries drive on the left-hand side of the car. Thanks to Pro for sharing this cool factoid with us. But he says: "these days people carry guns instead, and shooting a motorist that has irritated you in some way is so much easier sitting on the right-hand side of the car than the left, at least for people who are right handed anyway."

One point I'd like to make about this: I see from my opponent's profile that he is Con in the gun rights category. I DO NOT intend nor wish to make this into a political discussion, but here's the deal: if my opponent opposes gun rights, then why would he advocate a change that he admits would make it easier for someone to shoot a motorist who happens to annoy him?

I'd like to make one final point in conclusion. Going back to my opponent's claim: "Now, if only everybody drove on the left-hand side of the road billions would be saved in development costs and we would all pay less for new cars."

We both seem to have missed a very important effect of a switch like this: what in the WORLD do we do with all the cars that we currently have?? As of 2011 there are 253,108,389 registered cars in the United States. [1] If we mandate that all drivers must begin driving on the left, we must either a. scrap all of them and import right-steering-wheel cars, or b. convert every last one of them to right-wheel configurations.
Option A means scrapping 253 million cars- a huge waste that would send Al Gore to a mental asylum. Plus, I don't even want to think about what the cost of importing replacements for all those cars could be.
Option B: searching eBay for the correct RHD conversion components brings up parts that cost around a thousand dollars! I don't even want to think about labor costs for getting a mechanic to do it- he'd have to strip the dashboard and replace the entire steering column. If you had a Camaro imported from the USA to Australia and converted to RHD, it would cost $96,915. [2] [3]

Thank you for the opportunity to do the debate.

Debate Round No. 2
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by frankienstien 2 years ago
While I agree it would make sense if the world drive on the same side, I doubt there would be any cost savings. That last statement includes manufacturing costs, I'm sure converting roadways will cost a lot.
Posted by Gordontrek 2 years ago
That third citation link doesn't work for some reason. If you wish to view it then you can go to Google and type in "carscoops right hand drive Australia" and it should be the first link that comes up in the results. Funny, the link I posted was exactly as it appeared in the search bar yet it doesn't work when you click on it here...
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