It is not easy to drive on Sudan’s roads as they are filled with erratic drivers, pedestrians, animals and overloaded vehicles. But one rule that they follow is driving on the right.
Right-Hand Traffic (RHT) is the practice of keeping to the right side of the road in bidirectional traffic. In the same way, Left-Hand Traffic (LHT) refers to the practice of keeping to the left side of the road in bidirectional traffic. Sudan follows right hand traffic (RHT) rule.
Countries that implement RHT almost always use left-hand drive (LHD) vehicles. The steering wheels of these cars are placed on the left-hand side, and therefore the driver sits on the left side of the car. They go around roundabouts in counterclockwise direction. Traffic from side streets on the right has the right-of-way when entering a cross street, including fast-moving main streets.
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While LHD vehicles are more popular in the world and are used in 165 countries and territories, the remaining 75 countries and territories follow LHT, and hence prefer RHD vehicles. In 1919, 104 of the world's territories were LHT and an equal number were RHT. From 1919 to 1986, 34 of the LHT territories switched to RHT.
Historically speaking, well before cars were invented, all traffic used to follow the left-hand traffic rule. Most people, being right-handed, found it easier to mount their horses from the left. It made sense to climb from the side of the road rather than from the middle, hence they chose the left-hand rule. At the same time, the right hand would be free for greetings or for defense (by holding a sword).
However, when Napoleon came to power, he began changing the left-hand rule to right-hand to suit his own requirements. He being left-handed, preferred to stay on the right side of the road with his sword braced in his left-hand, ready for attack or defense. So he introduced the right-hand system in countries or territories he conquered.
The French Revolution also contributed to popularizing the right-hand traffic rule. The farmers in France were earlier forced to travel on the right side of the road while the aristocrat travelled on the left side. Post the revolution, travelling on the right side became a symbol of freedom that quickly spread to other European countries.
The United Kingdom, however, was not affected by this change, being an isolated island nation, just like other island nations, such as Japan and Indonesia. They continued being LHT nations.
The French introduced RHT to its colonies in Africa, while the British and Portuguese colonies followed LHT. Sudan, formerly a part of Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, switched to RHT in 1973, as it is surrounded by countries that follow RHT.
Presently, about 41 countries and territories in Africa follow right-hand traffic (RHT), while only 14 African countries and territories practice left-hand traffic (LHT). Below is a list of African countries that follow RHT and a list of countries that follow LHT.
Countries following RHT in Africa:
4 Burkina Faso
7 Cape Verde
8 Central African Republic
11 Côte D'Ivoire
12 Democratic Republic Of Congo
15 Equatorial Guinea
31 Republic Of Congo
34 Sierra Leone
36 South Sudan
38 São Tomé And Príncipe
41 Western Sahara
Countries following LHT in Africa:
2 Eswatini (Swaziland)
10 South Africa