I've heard that cars in countries which drive on the left don't always protect the driver in the crash as well as the equivalent car set up for countries which drive on the right. Does anyone know exactly how common this is?
Apparently the government body which crash tests cars for the Australian market (drives on the left) found this out.
Prompted by watching Scotty's "here's how they drive in the UK" video...which could have also featured more on the high prevalence of roundabouts/circles/rotaries for all sizes of junctions, some with traffic lights as well (google the "SABRE Roads" website to find out more about that).
Some cars (many cars?) have extra strengthening on the drivers side, but not same strength on both sides to save weight/cost..gaming the crash tests to an extent like emissions testing.
But when the car is reconfigured for driving on the other side, the strengthening isn't always swapped over to give the driver (on the other side) the same protection
This is a particularly bad problem for UK, Ireland, maybe South Africa, where many cars are designed in Europe (drives on the right). The manufacturers only have to test one version of the car for the Euro-NCAP crash test, and can quote that result in sales literature for UK/IE (drive on the left) as well, no need to retest the drive on the left version. Since more cars are made in drive on the right countries, the test is more likely to be done on a drive on the right car.
Not sure the same holds true for cars officially imported from Japan to Europe. Ideally, the Japanese cars should be a bit safer in the UK as Japan also drives on the left (stronger driver's side thr right way round for UK), but the Japanese manufacturers might also be designing some models for better crash test results for drive on the right (Euro-NCAP and US equivalent)