Most of the countries in the World drive on the right side of the road, including the US, most parts of Europe and several other countries. But did you know driving on the left side of the road is not uncommon at all for many countries? Along with the UK, 74 countries drive on the left side of the road. Right-hand drive vehicles are legal in those countries.
You might be wondering “Is it even legal to drive Right hand drive cars in the USA”? In this post, I will clear your all doubts about the legality of right-hand drive cars in the USA.
Does the US government allow right-hand drive cars?
Since in the US, driving cars on the right side of the road is a rule, you may doubt the legality of right-hand drive vehicles in the country. The answer to your question is, yes, driving right-hand drive vehicles is legal in the USA. In fact, US postal services widely use right-hand cars. Some of the most popular cars like Sedans, Coupes and Caveats are also right-hand drive cars.
In simple terms, your car whether its RHD or LHD is legal if it complies with the NHTSA and EPA regulations of the country. Though there are certain limitations and dangers while driving a right-hand drive car in the United States which we I will tell later in the post.
Though I am not a fan of RHD cars but I see many car enthusiasts driving RHD cars in the USA. If you are also one of those and would like to buy one then there are couple of options available to you.
Let’s see how can you buy the right hand drive vehicle in the United States without breaking any government rules.
How can you buy a Right-hand drive car in the US?
There are certain options in case you are planning to buy a right-hand drive car in the US,
There are mainly two ways through which you can buy RHD cars.
Postal vehicles or classic cars
The US postal service uses RHD cars for their service. But you will be delighted to know that you too can buy RHD cars. All you have to do is go to the nearest Jeep dealership to obtain your desired RHD car. Always try to choose the dealerships which offer factory-made cars. You will notice they provide both used and new vehicles. You could get Jeeps, Sedans, Coupes, Feats and other classic cars which are right-hand drive.
Though RHD cars can be quite expensive, if you could search on the internet, you would find that you could buy them for a reasonable price too. These cars generally start at $20,000. In the case of used vehicles, the price goes down to $9,000. But you have to check the history of the car before buying it. Since buying a damaged car will not be a viable option for you.
You can also buy used postal services cars once it retired from the service. These cars are available at a pretty reasonable price. If you have enough knowledge about cars, then you should do a thorough check-up before buying any second-hand vehicle. Since brand-new RHD cars are quite expensive, buying a second-hand RHD car is quite smart move.
You may think about importing your favourite RHD cars, but always know that the vehicle should be more than 25 years of age. Since the law of the USA government prohibits anyone from importing any car , which is less than 25 years old except than the US model cars. Since all the US model are LHD therefore you can’t import any RHD vehicle newer than 25 years old. If found, then that car could be seized or destroyed by the authorities, since it is illegal in the country. Though this rule does not let you import fancy new RHD cars from the UK or Japan, you could import much older cars from those countries.
Can I convert my LHD to RHD car?
Wait! What? Are you thinking to convert your existing LHD to RHD car?
Yes, You can convert your existing LHD car to RHD Car. If you have enough time and resources, then only think of this method. Exact same idea came to my mind but I dropped it when I came to know about the conversion cost. Also process of conversion is very complicated and costly not for any novice. I would rather prefer to export a right hand drive car if I ever need than destroying my Nissan Altima.
There are two ways through which you can do the conversion. They are:
Through the help of car-conversion kits, you could easily convert your old car to a right-hand drive car. At the price of a few thousand dollars, you could also get the car you always wanted. These kits are pretty straightforward and easy-to-use. But they may not offer the best physical appearance after the conversion process.
To avoid this, you may want to do the conversion by totally taking your car apart. But if you are an amateur and not experienced enough, then you should not follow this method since the process is not only time-consuming but sometimes can be quite dangerous.
There are several different companies which convert cars from left-hand drive to right-hand drive. Handing over your car to a professional company is not only safe but less time-consuming. But keep in mind, it costs a lot. Some companies charge up to $25,000 for completing the conversion. In that price or even below it, you could easily export an old RHD car in very good condition and shape.
Also, if your car is modern then it would be VERY difficult as nowadays all cars come with lots of complex features.
So if you still want to convert then a company is the best option for you. Doing the whole job by yourself can be a intimidating task. And To be honest, you should avoid it at any cost because it’s
What are the pros and the cons of RHD cars in the US?
While choosing an RHD car or converting your old vehicle to an RHD car, you must know there are both advantages as well as disadvantages. Every thing comes with both pros and cons and RHD cars is not an exception. You have to keep in mind the fact that the USA is a left-hand drive country. Though it may make you a stand-out, you must consider both the pros and cons before making the final decision. It may be impractical for you if you are a professional driver.
Have a look on pros and cons given below and decide accordingly whether you should opt for a RHD car or not.
- Due to the steering wheel being placed on the curbside, you can get out of your vehicle safely.
- You will not face any difficulty while talking to other drivers at the traffic signals.
- The mailboxes are easily accessible, and you will not even have to get out of your car.
- You get to stand out among other people since having an RHD vehicle in an LHD world is quite an anomaly.
- The car makes you parallel park pretty quickly since to get to the curb without any hassle.
- When you park your car at the curb, the passengers in your vehicle will have a hard time getting out in the traffic. You may exit the vehicle quickly, but your companion will face a lot of difficulties.
- While trying to grab a ticket for the automated parking garage, you will face an extreme challenge. For that, you have to go to the passenger’s seat by crawling through the car.
- The problem mentioned above can apply to toll-booths as well. Also, the people behind you deaf you by continually honking.
- Driving through a two-lane highway can get quite scary if the traffic is slow.
If you are an experienced driver, this kind of car will not bother you that much. But if you are entirely new to driving, then you may face several difficulties while driving an RHD car in the US. Driving this kind of car demands extra cautiousness because the US is not a right-hand drive country. In case of heavy traffic, you may sometime get stuck or take more time than others while turning left. But these problems will dissuade with regular practice. After some days, these little things will not even bother you. The choice is yours. Always consider all the facts before getting an RHD car.