Why we drive on the right

It’s a good thing Henry Ford waited until he did to start making automobiles because early settlers couldn’t have used them. There were no roads and Tin Lizzies didn’t float.

The earliest most extensive road system was developed around Lancaster, Pa connecting the farm villages of gregarious German folk -who enjoyed the social pleasures of church and beer drinking, sometimes simultaneously.

Some enterprising fella in nearby Conestoga, Pennsylvania began building wagons to take advantage of the multiplying paths. These odd wagons had curved floors to keep the load from sliding around as they went up and down hills and were designed to float when crossing streams and boasted a Granny style canvas bonnet to keep the goods dry in rainy weather. With a few modifications they became the famous “Prairie Schooners” that moved America west.

These unique wagons were so popular for getting farm products to Philadelphia and Lancaster that the roads became a bit crowded and America’s first traffic jams caused a bit of Pennsylvania Dutch cussing and carrying on as each navigated the road under his own rules.

The solution was to agree to some traffic rules such as speed limits, right of way precedence and which side of the road one traveled. Excepting the introduction of traffic signals and radar, the rules of the road around Lancaster have changed very little over the centuries -and they still drive on the right side of the road.

Comments

  1. Janet Givens says:

    That was really cute & interesting! Love the stories that you guys post!

  2. Steph Anderson says:

    Interesting!

  3. Dorothy Esko says:

    Ok, so what was the first speed limit, I wonder?

  4. shirley o'donnell says:

    What in the world makes you think of these crazy things to write about? I don’t know, but I love it. That was really a new piece of info that I bet many people have never heard… I’m with Dorothy, what was the first speed limit?

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