On most early motor vehicles, the driving seat was positioned centrally. Some car manufacturers later chose to place it near the centre of the road to help drivers see oncoming traffic, while others chose to put the driver's seat on the kerb side so that the drivers could avoid damage from walls, hedges, gutters and other obstacles. Eventually the former idea prevailed.
Political events in France had a big effect on driving habits. Before the French Revolution, the aristocracy drove its carriages along the left side of the roads, forcing the peasants to the other side. But once the Revolution started, these nobles desperately tried to hide their identity by joining the peasant travelers on the right. By 1794 the French government had introduced a keep-right rule in Paris, which later spread to other regions as the conquering armies of Napoléon I marched through much of continental Europe. It is not surprising that Napoléon favored keeping to the right. One reference work explains that because he was left-handed, "his armies had to march on the right so he could keep his sword arm between him and any opponent."