For many people visiting or moving to the UK from a foreign country, the fact that we drive on the left can seem quite bizarre. In most places in the world, drivers drive on the right.
But for Brits, it’s the opposite. Even the idea of driving our cars on the right hand side of the road seems absurd. But there is one place in London where driving on the right is actually mandatory.
On one particular road in Central London, drivers have to be careful not to make the rookie mistake of winding up in the wrong lane. It’s a small road that links the famous Savoy Hotel to The Strand in the City of Westminster.
Driving on the right hand side of Savoy Court has been a custom for some 120 years. The rule was even in place in the days when people were entering the road on horse-drawn carriages.
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(Image: Google Maps)
The road is marked ‘IN’ and ‘OUT’ to make sure drivers entering Savoy Court don’t get mixed up and have an accident. But what is the reasoning behind this?
The answer is actually quite simple. It’s because the Savoy Theatre is on the right hand side of the road, so the idea is that drivers who are dropping people off at the theatre don’t block the entrance and the exit to the hotel.
It is also intended to make life easier for taxi drivers who might want to drop someone off at the theatre and then drive up to the entrance of the hotel to pick up another passenger.
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Not only that, but it also makes the job of chauffeurs easier, as they would not have to walk around the car after opening the door for the passenger.
Also Savoy Court is a privately owned road, so technically it doesn’t contradict British traffic laws, although the rule of driving on the right is protected by a Special Act of Parliament passed in 1902.
Minus a few occasions in the past when traffic in and out of Savoy Court wasn’t as smooth as intended, the system has actually worked pretty well.
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