Keep Right

Prince Edward Island was the last province to drive in the left lane.
Written by Nelle Oosterom Posted February 29, 2024

One hundred years ago, on May 1, 1924, drivers in Canada’s smallest province joined the rest of North America and started driving on the right side of the road. Prince Edward Island was preceded by Nova Scotia in 1923 and New Brunswick in 1922.

Driving in the left lane was the norm on the east and west coasts of Canada, until cross-country jaunts by automobile became more common and the need for standard cross-border traffic rules became more urgent. Central Canada and the prairie provinces had always followed the American practice of driving on the right.

Surprisingly few accidents were reported with the changeovers, except in Prince Edward Island: “On May the first the new law, drive to the right, came into effect and already two accidents have been reported,” said a May 13, 1924, report in the Charlottetown Observer. Both accidents involved horse-drawn wagons, as cars were still rare on the island.

The newspaper did not elaborate on why the new law was responsible for the separate mishaps, which involved teams of horses falling off a bridge after pulling over to the side of the road to let another team pass. “Fortunately, none were hurt,” said the Observer, though the passengers landed in “very undignified positions, some in the water, some on the road.”

Cars had earlier been banned on the island because people complained that they frightened horses. The 1908 ban was partly lifted in 1913 but not fully rescinded until 1919.

Help keep Canada’s stories strong (and free)

We hope you will help us continue to share fascinating stories about Canada’s past.


We highlight our nation’s diverse past by telling stories that illuminate the people, places, and events that unite us as Canadians, and by making those stories accessible to everyone through our free online content.


Canada’s History is a registered charity that depends on contributions from readers like you to share inspiring and informative stories with students and citizens of all ages — award-winning stories written by Canada’s top historians, authors, journalists, and history enthusiasts.


Any amount helps, or better yet, start a monthly donation today. Your support makes all the difference. Thank you! 

This article originally appeared in the April-May 2024 issue of Canada’s History.

Related to Transportation