Is it Legal to Drive a Right-Hand Vehicle in the US?
Updated: Feb 23
Other countries in Europe and the world, including the USA, drive on the right side of the road. However, are you aware that driving on the left side of the road is not unusual for many countries? Together with the United Kingdom or the UK, almost seventy-four countries worldwide drive on the left side of the road. Right-hand drive cars, or RHD cars, are legal in these countries.
While vehicles in the UK drive on the left side and is right hand drive, cars sold in some nations in Europe come in a left-hand drive. Driving an LHD car in the UK is perfectly legal, but it’s very challenging and dangerous such as driving with two feet.
Perhaps you are asking, is it legal or illegal to drive a right-hand drive or rhd car? You are in the right place, as this article will provide you valuable insight into the validity of right-hand drive or RHD cars in the US and if it is legal or illegal. There are perks of opting for this kind of car. Drive-throughs are complicated, and toll booths are worse. However, those who own these vehicles in the United States find it so easy and simple.
Does the US Law Permit RHD Cars or Right-Hand Drive Cars in the USA?
The answer to this question is yes, as long as you have a valid driver's license. Driving vehicles on the right side of the road is a regulation in the USA; you may be hesitant about the validity of RHD cars in this country. However, it is legal to drive right-hand drive or RHD cars in this country. The United States Postal or mail carriers extensively utilize right-hand autos. Most of the common right-hand drive vehicles or rhd cars are Coupes, Sedans, and Caveats.
In layman's terms, your vehicle is legal, whether left-hand drive, right-hand drive, or RHD, once it meets the terms of EPA and Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards or NHTSA laws. Talk to an injury attorney for details. There are specific restrictions and risks while driving a right-hand drive vehicle or RHD car in the US that will be tackled below.
Research shows that there are lots of car fanatics in the US driving rhd or right-hand drive vehicles. So, if you are planning to buy one, then the good news is that there are choices to pick from- like, for example, the Japanese domestic market and US market have a wide range of right drive cars to choose from.
But the question is how you can search and buy an rhd car in the US without breaching government laws and regulations. So, keep on reading.
How Can I Buy an RHD vehicle in the US?
There are specific choices in the event you want to purchase an RHD car in this country. Mainly, there are two particular ways in which you can pay for right-hand drive cars. There are lots of providers in the US; all you need to do is search.
Classic Vehicle or Postal Vehicles
The United States postal workers utilize RHD or right-hand drive vehicles for their services, even in rural areas. However, you'll be astounded to know that anyone can also purchase this kind of car. All you need to do is visit or contact the local car dealership or website to acquire the desired right-hand cars for sale. It is advisable to contact a car dealership that provides factory-made autos. Just contact them, and you’ll see they offer both brand new and second-hand model cars or vehicles. Examples of this model are Feats, Coupes, Sedans, Jeeps, and other classic vehicles that are right-hand drives.
This type of car is extremely costly, so wait a bit before you decide to buy one. However, you can find third parties that offer or import cars within your budget if you search online. Generally, you’ll need to pay $20,000 for this steering wheel. If you want to save more, you can opt for used vehicles that typically cost you $9,000. However, you need to conduct a background check on the vehicle before purchasing it. Since buying a used car will not be a good choice for you.
Also, you can purchase used cars from the postal service, especially from those that are not in use but still functional. These vehicles have a low or reasonable price. Once you know about cars, you must do a detailed check-up before purchasing a used car. You can never go wrong since a brand new right-side drive car is relatively costly. Buying a used one is somewhat a smart choice.
Are you planning to import a vehicle? Or do you love imported cars or classic cars? If your answer is yes, remember that US rules and regulations prohibit anyone from importing any car less than twenty-five years old, excluding the cars made in the US. Since all cars made in the USA are left-hand drive cars, you cannot import any right side drive auto younger than twenty-five years old. If you do so, the government could seize the car since it is not legal or prohibited by the law. Though this law doesn’t seize legal imported fancy new RHD cars from Japan or the UK, you could import much older cars from those nations. Talk to an accident attorney for more information.
Is it Possible to Convert My Left-Hand Drive Car to Right Side Drive?
If you are one of the many people out there asking if it is possible to convert a left-hand drive car to a right-hand drive car or RHD car, well, the answer is yes. If you have resources and time, why not consider this method? These are the same car ideas that pop into owners' minds but forgot about when they learned the cost of converting. The process of converting the steering wheel is complex and expensive. It is highly advisable to export a car rather than destroying your Nissan Altima. Some companies accept this kind of service.
With the assistance of a car conversion kit, it is easy for you to convert the old auto to an r car. For a very reasonable price, you can get the car you want. The car conversion kit is relatively easy. However, they might not provide the most excellent physical appearance after the process of converting.
You can avoid this by totally taking the car apart. On the other hand, if you're a newbie and not skilled, you must not follow this technique since the whole process isn't just time-consuming and very risky.
Skilled or Professional Method
Many car companies in Japan convert cars from LHD to right-side drive or RHD vehicles. Handing over the car to an expert car company isn't just safe but also less time-consuming. However, always remember that it will cost you a lot. Some car companies charge up to $25,000 to do the conversion. You can export an old right-side steering wheel or car in good shape and condition at that rate.
If your steering wheel is modern, it would be tough today, and all cars come with many complex features.
Therefore, if you’d still like to convert your steering wheel, then a car company is the ideal solution for you. You can contact the company to ask about the services they offer. It is intimidating to do the process yourself. Honestly speaking, you must keep away from it at all costs.
Are There Pros and Cons in Driving RHD or Right-Hand Drive Cars in the US?
The answer is yes. While opting for a right-hand drive vehicle or RHD car or converting the old car to an RHD car, you should know there are both pros and cons. The whole thing comes with advantages and disadvantages, and RHD cars or right-hand drive cars aren't an exception. You need to remember that the US is a left-hand drive nation. Though it might set you apart, you should think of both the advantages and disadvantages before deciding. It might be unreasonable and not viable for you when you're an expert or professional driver.
Here are the advantages and disadvantages. Choose accordingly if you must consider a right-hand drive car or not.
Advantages of Right-Hand Steering Wheel
Because the steering wheel is on the curbside, you can get out of the car safely and securely.
You'll not encounter complexity while talking to another driver at an oncoming traffic signal.
It is easy to access the mailbox, and there is no need for you to get out of your car.
You will stand out from the rest since having this car in a world of left-hand drivers is relatively an anomaly.
This helps you parallel park with ease, as it is easy to get close to the curb.
If you park the car at the curb, passengers may find it hard to get out. You might exit the car fast; your companion will experience lots of complexities.
When getting a ticket at a parking garage, you'll encounter a serious and extreme challenge. Because of that, you will need to crawl into the passenger seat.
Driving on a two-lane highway is very scary, most particularly if the traffic is slow.
This type of car is not an issue, most especially for skilled and seasoned drivers out there. On the other hand, if you are new to driving or are a first-time driver, you might encounter many complexities while using a right-hand drive car in the USA. This offers many benefits like more accessible parallel parking. Parallel parking in LHD cars is tricky.
Driving this type of car needs a high level of cautiousness since the US is a left-hand drive country. In the event of heavy traffic, sometimes you might get stuck or take a lot of time turning left. However, these issues will be put off with daily or regular practice. After a couple of days, these small things will not worry you. The option is yours. So, always consider the facts mentioned before buying and driving a right-hand car in the US.