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Happy International Left Handers Day! A salute to all left-handers out there—we know it's not easy. In our world, whether it's a simple pair of scissors or heavy machinery, most things are designed for the right-handed majority to use. Considering this, it's natural to assume that it's also harder for left-handers to learn to drive. But is that really true? There are some areas that left-handers have actually been shown to have an advantage in, like tennis and boxing! So could that be true for driving too? Today, we compare driving left-handed and driving right-handed to find out whether life on the road really is harder for lefties!
1. Manual Driving
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Whether you're left-handed or right-handed matters more in a manual car, where you need one hand on the wheel and another on the gear shift. Cars in Singapore are right-hand cars, which means that they're adapted for drivers to steer with their right hands and shift gears with their left. Think about it—do you need more fine control when steering, or when shifting gears? Most people would say that steering needs more control, which means that it's better to keep your dominant hands on the wheel. In this case, right-handers are probably at an advantage, as left-handers have to adapt to steering with their weaker hands. In the case of manual driving, then, being right-handed wins!
Fortunately these days, most people drive auto transmission cars, so this is less of an issue for drivers. Many controls are now designed to be mounted on the steering wheel, which makes it pretty even for both kinds of drivers. But for those who prefer the old-school manual way, it helps more to be right-handed.
Verdict: Lefties: 0 Righties: 1.
Auto driving evens the playing field, but for manual drivers, you'll have an easier time being right-handed.
2. Brake and Acceleration Pedals
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Fun fact: just like with your hands, one of your legs is more dominant than the other! Your dominant leg usually matches your dominant hand, which means that left-handers tend to have dominant left legs. This can be a disadvantage in driving as well when it comes to acceleration and braking. Drivers are normally trained to use their right legs to access the pedals, while the left leg is supposed to stay still. This means that left-handers will also have a harder time dealing with the pedals while driving. So far, it seems that right-handed drivers are at an advantage!
Verdict: Lefties: 0 Righties: 2.
Control over acceleration and braking are also hard for lefties, who probably have dominant left legs as well as hands.
3. Picking Up Skills
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Surprisingly, despite all this, studies have shown that left-handers actually learn to drive faster than right-handers! More lefties pass their driving test the first time than righties, and instructors say they pick up some skills like clutch control much more quickly. Could it be that left handers are just faster learners? It could also be that they're so used to training their non-dominant hands on a daily basis that they also become better at generally learning new skills like driving. In any case, it would seem that left-handed drivers learning to drive do seem to have an advantage over right-handers!
Verdict: Lefties :1, Righties : 2.
Although left-handers are disadvantaged in many ways when it comes to driving, they're still better at learning!
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It's been shown that fewer left-handers are involved in road accidents than right-handers! All the trouble of coping with a right-handed world pays off—left-handers may be more alert to their surroundings and their own movements because of the extra effort it takes to use their non-dominant hand. They're likely to be more cautious and precise when driving, which also makes them safer drivers! If you want a safe ride, you've definitely got a better chance with a leftie at the wheel.
Verdict: Lefties: 2 Righties: 2.
The inconvenience of being left handed makes lefties also more careful and alert when they drive, so they tend to stay safer!
So what's the final verdict?
It's a TIE! Being left-handed does have certain disadvantages when driving, but there's an equal number of advantages to make up for it. Even though car design can sometimes make life hard for left-handers, their quick learning and careful driving makes them just as good as right-handers. So here's a salute today to all our left-handed friends on the road!
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