Can I Drive a Right-Hand Car in the USA?

Yes, it is generally allowed to drive a right-hand drive (RHD) car in the United States. While the majority of vehicles in the USA are left-hand drive (LHD), there are no specific laws that prohibit driving an RHD vehicle. However, it’s important to consider a few factors. RHD cars may not comply with certain safety standards and regulations, and finding parts or servicing them might be more challenging.

A Brief overview of driving regulations in the USA

Driving a right-hand drive (RHD) car in the USA is perfectly legal, as long as the vehicle follows the existing national Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. While most cars in the USA have left-hand drive (LHD) configurations, there are no federal laws prohibiting owning and operating RHD vehicles on American roads. Postal service workers, along with some automobile enthusiasts, often utilize RHD vehicles, which are typically available for purchase from authorized dealers, including Jeep. In addition to selecting new models, prospective buyers may also opt for used RHD cars or even import older models from countries like Japan and the UK, provided they are more than 25 years old.

While it may take some time to adjust to driving an RHD vehicle on American roads designed for LHD cars, there are no restrictions on doing so, as long as all traffic laws are obeyed. For those interested in converting their current LHD vehicles to RHD, various companies offer conversion services, or individuals can tackle the project on their own using conversion kits. Just keep in mind that driving an RHD car has its unique challenges and may require a period of familiarization before venturing into more congested or high-traffic areas.

Understanding Right-Hand Drive Vehicles

Are you curious about driving right-hand drive (RHD) vehicles in the USA? Here’s a quick breakdown of things you need to know:

  • Legality: Rest assured, driving an RHD car is perfectly legal in the United States. There are no federal laws that prevent you from owning, buying, or driving such vehicles.
  • Purchasing an RHD car: Buyers can find RHD vehicles through local Jeep dealers (like for a Jeep Wrangler), used vehicle sales websites, or by importing cars from Japan or the UK that are more than 25-years-old.
  • Conversion option: Vehicle owners can purchase conversion kits to transform their left-hand drive cars to RHD ones themselves, or they can hire a professional for the job.
  • Safety and driving challenges: Though RHD cars offer benefits such as easier parallel parking and safer entry/exit points, driving on roads designed for left-hand drive vehicles can be disorienting and pose potential safety risks.
  • Adapting to RHD driving: It’s best to practice driving RHD cars in rural areas with minimal traffic before venturing onto busier roads and highways.

Legal Considerations for Driving Right-Hand Cars in the USA

Driving right-hand cars in the USA is totally legal, as long as your vehicle complies with Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. Here are some considerations for those interested in using a right-hand drive (RHD) car in the United States.

  • First, be aware of the safety and logistical challenges you could face when driving an RHD car in a country designed for left-hand drive vehicles. You will still have to follow all traffic laws that apply to LHD cars while adapting to the changed driving position.
  • Second, if you’re planning to buy an RHD car, you can purchase new vehicles with RHD modifications, used RHD vehicles, or import cars from Japan or the UK that are more than 25 years old. Jeep dealers in the US also sell RHD vehicles, making customization easy.
  • Third, if you want to convert your existing car from left-hand to right-hand drive, consider the DIY approach with a conversion kit or hiring a professional. However, exercise caution as improper conversion can be dangerous.
  • Lastly, remember that while RHD cars are legal, they come with certain risks and challenges. It’s recommended to practice in rural or low-traffic areas before driving in busy city streets.

Differences between Right-Hand and Left-Hand Drive Vehicles

In the United States, left-hand drive (LHD) vehicles are the norm with the driver’s seat and steering wheel positioned on the left side of the car. In right-hand drive (RHD) vehicles, the driver’s seat and steering wheel are located on the right side. Both types of vehicles are legal in the U.S., but driving an RHD car on roads designed for LHD vehicles can be challenging.

One notable advantage of RHD vehicles is that they make parallel parking easier, as the driver has a better vantage point to judge the curb. They also provide safer entry and exit from the vehicle, as the driver is closer to the curb instead of active traffic. Left-handed drivers may also find RHD vehicles more comfortable, and some car enthusiasts enjoy the novelty factor of driving a vehicle with a steering wheel on the opposite side.

However, driving on the right side of the road while sitting on the right side of the vehicle can be disorienting, especially for those used to LHD cars. Additionally, there is a higher risk of being involved in an accident while driving an RHD vehicle on roads designed for LHD cars. Drivers need to be extra cautious when making turns, merging, and overtaking, as their visibility on the road is limited.

Pros and Cons of Driving a Right-Hand Car in the USA

Driving a right-hand drive (RHD) car in the USA is legal, as long as it complies with Motor Vehicle Safety Standards regulations. However, there are pros and cons to using an RHD car in a predominantly left-hand drive (LHD) country.

Pros of Driving a Right-Hand Car in the USA

  • Easy parallel parking: With the steering wheel on the curb side, it’s easier to judge distances to the curb.
  • Safer driver exit: The driver is on the sidewalk side, reducing the risk of car door collisions with passing traffic.
  • Fun conversations: The position of the driver’s window facilitates interactions with pedestrians and other drivers at stoplights.

Cons of Driving a Right-Hand Car in the USA

  • Challenging left turns: Limited visibility around other vehicles can make left turns at intersections more difficult.
  • Parking garage and toll booth operations: Accessing ticket machines and toll booths can be cumbersome, requiring some agility to maneuver within the car.
  • Passenger door safety: Passengers exit the car on the traffic side, which may be unsafe or inconvenient in some situations.

Tips for Driving a Right-Hand Car in the USA

If you’re considering driving a right-hand drive (RHD) car in the United States, you’re in luck—it’s perfectly legal. However, it’s essential to be mindful of a few tips to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

  • Practice in low-traffic areas: To familiarize yourself with the unique control placement and feel of a RHD car, practice driving in rural locations or quiet neighborhoods before venturing onto busier roads.
  • Be cautious at intersections: Driving an RHD car in a country primarily designed for left-hand drive vehicles can make navigating intersections particularly challenging. Take extra care when approaching these areas and be aware of other drivers.
  • Use your mirrors: Due to the unique position of an RHD car, utilizing your mirrors effectively is crucial. Make sure they’re appropriately adjusted to provide you with the best view of surrounding traffic.
  • Monitor your lane position: Driving an RHD vehicle may cause you to drift toward the middle of the road unknowingly. Make a conscious effort to maintain a proper lane position.
  • Plan ahead for overtaking: As your visibility may be limited when driving an RHD car in the US, take extra care when attempting to overtake other vehicles and make sure you have a clear view of the road ahead.


In conclusion, driving a right-hand drive (RHD) car in the United States is completely legal, as long as it complies with the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards and the EPA regulations. Although it may cause some inconvenience while navigating left-hand drive traffic rules, RHD cars have been popular among USPS employees and car enthusiasts. To purchase an RHD car in the USA, one can either approach a local dealership that sells factory-made models or consider third-party providers that import vehicles from other countries.


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