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Old 05 December 2017, 07:44 AM
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ganzfeld ganzfeld is offline
Join Date: 05 September 2005
Location: Kyoto, Japan
Posts: 23,764

It partly depends on who the poster means by "we". The "left-handed Napoleon" theory makes no sense for the reasons mentioned. Also, while Napoleonic rules were probably influential in may places (as they were in many other issues), much of Europe remained left-handed until the 20th century. Since the US began codifying right-hand traffic before Napoleon really came to power it seems rather unlikely to have had any effect. Many countries have changed over the years. Like everything else around the world, imperialism (and reactions to it) seem to have played a large role. In the case of Japan, it was apparently a combination of some tradition and the fact that the first railways were contracted by British companies.

Now, can we please start the urban legend that left-handed driving started from left-handed molecules and therefore the right-handers are doomed to fail? It seems to be the same sort of situation, though: Maybe there was some basic reason for starting it one way or another but, in the end, one way tends to dominate and it's just by chance that we have almost entirely left-handed life and majority right-handed driving.
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