Stupid Questions For Brits, Aussies, New Zealanders...

I have been to England and should remember some of this, but don’t.

OK, so you drive on the left. That I remember.


  1. When pushing a button for automated handicapped door entry, does the left door open?

  2. At escalators, up is left and down is right?

  3. If you should walk up or down the escalator, you would pass those standing by going to the right side, as most would hold on to the left side?

  4. When going through a revolving door, does the door go clockwise?
    My guess is the answers will be yes to all of the above, but just wondered how far the “left side” principle goes.

Stand on the right for escalators.

With most of these it depends entirely on the layout of the building in question, and has very little to do with driving on the left. With the exception of escalators where (as already mentioned) the rule is stand on the right, walk on the left - though IME this is only strictly observed on the London Underground (where there are signs to remind you), in most department stores people stand any which way. Then again, you’re much less likely to be in a rush in a department store, I suppose.

In terms of the layout of escalators, now I think about it I suppose “up on the left, down on the right” is more common in the UK (if you’re looking at them from the bottom - from the top, the reverse is the case of course) but I suspect it’s by no means universal. Doors with push buttons for power-assisted entry tend to only have a single door anyway, or both doors open.

Automated doors are generally triggered by approach. Push-buttons would rather defeat the purpose.

As far as I know, revolving doors are usually anti-clockwise.

Revolving doors go anti-clockwise. Escalators are often if not usually organised cross-ways to save space. The disabled button opens the door or doors with which it’s associated. This can be on the left or the right.

Ireland and South Africa are countries, too!

It’s hardly standardized in the US. I can think of many grocery stores where the automatic doors on the left are the only ones that will open from that direction. And plenty of examples of supermarkets that go the “right” way.

And of course, I don’t think there is any correspondence between driving direction and which side of the pump you pull up to. Maybe some with country of origin, although I can think of many examples of Japanese cars that do either, although some companies may be more willing to adapt their models for the US market. (Left side is the right way, IMHO). And older US cars often have it in the very back.

Do revolving doors go counterclockwise in the US? I don’t take them often enough to be sure, although a faint memory says yes.

He probably shouldn’t have called it an automatic handicapped door, but I am assuming he is referring to doors that have a little (or sometimes big) pushbutton with a wheelchair symbol on it for making the door open. If that is the case, on which side (right or left) is the button and which one of a pair of doors opens when you push the button?

The button is generally on the adjacent wall, and the hinges are, you guessed it, on the adjacent wall.

In Australia:

  1. I don’t ever remember seeing this.

  2. It varies.

  3. Yes

  4. No

Number 4 must vary as well. There are only two revolving doors that I use on a regular basis, they both rotate clockwise.

American carousels go counter-clockwise (as seen looking down on them from above).

Carousels pretty much everywhere else in the world go clockwise.

In Australia:

  1. Rarely see this - mainly we have double doors that side apart, or a single door that opens with the push of a button (for handicapped and pram pushers) - the location of the button varies and the hinge tends to be on the left, but not always.

  2. Up is normally left, but again not always. We stand on the left normally as well, as well as walk down the footpath on the left. In areas of high immigrant density (certain streets etc in Melbourne for example), there is noticable turbulence and difficulty walking as the unofficial left-only rule is broken by people who are not familar with it and walk all over the footpath. At school in NZ for example we were required to walk on the left in the corridors and I think this has filtered through.

  3. When passing on the escalator you pass on the right. I was very thrown when I worked in London and used the Tube daily, as the reverse is true, despite all of the other ‘road rules’ being the same. Took me a while when I returned to the Southern Hemisphere to get used to standing on the right again.

  4. Most I am familiar with go clockwise.

What I don’t understand is why light switches are Up = On in the US, but Down = On here where I am down under (and I think the UK too). Seems an odd thing to be reversed anywhere.

There are also sideways countries. They didn’t want falling stuff to flip the switch during earthquakes (which seems like a silly thing to be concerned about, but maybe it could reduce fire hazards or something).

Many many countries drive on the left and yes, we also walk on the left. The biggish ones are Japan, South Africa, India, and Pakistan. I always find it much easier to draw my sword when driving on the left…

From Wikipedia:

76 countries, territories, and dependencies

Today road traffic in the following seven European jurisdictions drives on the left: the United Kingdom, Ireland, Isle of Man, Guernsey, Jersey, Malta and Cyprus. None shares a land border with a country that drives on the right and all were once part of the British Empire. Some Commonwealth countries and other former British colonies, such as Australia, Bahamas, Brunei, Barbados, Hong Kong, Jamaica, Singapore, New Zealand, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Republic of Mauritius, South Africa and Trinidad & Tobago drive on the left.

Other countries that drive on the left in Asia are Thailand, Indonesia, Bhutan, Nepal, Macau, East Timor and Japan. In South America, only Guyana and Suriname drive on the left. Most of the Pacific countries drive on the left, in line with Australia and New Zealand, with Samoa joining most recently, on 7 September 2009, the first country for three decades to change the side on which it drives.

Guangzhou, China, has a fairly new subway system and the escalators there were not consistent in relation to the direction of travel and being on the left/right as you approached. Usually, I presume, they were traveling in a direction which produced the least congestion when there were crowds traveling in both directions (which was almost all the time, close to the centre of the city).

Also, probably because of the enormous number of people using the system, standing on the left and right was the only option.

The revolving doors I went through moved anticlockwise.

No handicapped doors, from recollection.

Down is normally on in the UK, so the top of the switch shows when the switch is on.

  1. Normally both open, from the centre.
  2. Escalators are unpredictable. The nearest one to here has up and down facing each other, rather than side by side.
  3. Nothing in the world will annoy them greater, than standing on the left of the escalator.
  4. I don’t know of anywhere with revolving doors.

I still don’t understand how Aussies and Kiwis keep from falling off the bottom of the Earth. All I can come up with is high amounts of iron in their diets so the Earth’s magnetism holds them. :confused:


Are we sure? Or do you mean in the rest of the English world. On Wikipedia’s page, I see examples from:

France - counter clockwise
Australia - perspective is off, but looks like clockwise to me
US - counter clockwise
UK - clockwise
Malaysia - counter clockwise
Czech Republic - can’t tell from the picture
Japan - counter clockwise
US - counter clockwise it looks like
Belgium - counter clockwise, I think
And so on, a bunch more below. They say that North America = CC, Europe = C, but not much else.

Because everything is upside down from your perspective. :dubious:

Nothing that complex. Our countries suck. :smiley: