Which is "left" side of a driver's seat?

Is it the driver’s side; i.e. the side closest to the driver’s door? Or is it the side you’d say is the “left” side if you were looking at the seat from the front; i.e. the passenger side?

Another way to think about, if the shop manual said to remove the stitching from to the “left” side of the driver’s seat, which side would that be?

Seats face forward, but some items face backwards, like the radio. Any difference w/ those?

Just a curiosity is all. How is this sort of thing addressed by car repairers and manual writers?


Please don’t overthink this


Yes it is always looking forward in the seat. Left is drivers side, right is passenger side which they usually refer to. Even if you are standing in front of the car looking at the engine, left is your right. My wife’s sisters have this problem so we make them put their hand up to firm an L. Then sometimes have to say, no your other left. Same thing with north and south that confuses people. North is always up on the map. I had a graphic artist that did an evac plan with south being up. I made her redo it. She never knew north was up on a map. Somewhere in grade school we must have learned it but can’t remember when. Boot camp and map reading pounded it into everyone though.

Working on seats, rather than describe as “left seat, left side trim cover”, it is sometimes shown as “left seat, outboard trim cover”. Inboard or outboard is clearer.

The instructions are addressed to you, and when you use the driver’s seat (i.e. your butt is in it) your left arm is next to the left side of the seat.

In England they drive on the left side of the road, but I suppose if you stood in the road and watched a car come toward you, you could shout out “It’s on my right, dammit!” just before you were run over. Overthinkers will eventually become extinct this way.

Sit in the driver’s seat. Raise your left hand. That’s the left side of the car. Raise your right hand. That’s the right side of the car.
Look directly behind you. That’s the rear of the car. Look straight ahead. That’s the front of the car. Always.

Using “driver” or “passenger” is ambiguous, because it depends on where you sit to operate the vehicle. But front is always front. Left is always left.

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Good Grief , Charlie Brown . :astonished:

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Heh heh. Wife was a little nervous in uk. I pulled onto a service road to the rest area and a big truck was lumbering toward us. She screamed you’re on the wrong side. For the us yeah, but not the uk. :grinning:

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Left is the other right. It’s simple.

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I swapped pass seat to driver side due to outboard cushion wear. Now I have a new outboard side. It used to be an inboard side. I Leave stuff on pass seat to cover it up and it’s all good.


Well here’s an extra twist - In the UK they generally don’t say left or right, inboard or outboard, driver or passenger side (except when specifically related to an item directly linked to either the driver or passenger eg. door or seat)… they say near-side or off-side.
Eg Near side of driver’s seat.

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I’ve seen that terminology in UK car publications. Confused what they were trying to say until finally got the hang of that word usage. Another UK confusing term (for US readers) is “bespoke” meaning “custom-made”.

It’s a minefield. When I came from New Zealand to California in the 7th grade I had to realize it wasn’t just accent differences to communication problems. Repeating the words didn’t help, it was a whole new vocabulary. Eg…
Carpark = parking lot
Footpath = sidewalk

I distinctly remember the blank looks at me repeating “carpark”.

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Boy, that sure makes things clear!

Yup, two nations separated by a common language. I’m glad we won the war or we’d be driving our buggies on the left/port side of the road. :smile:

I’m happy Americans got their independence but not b/c of which side of the road to drive on. Who cares? I mean as long as everybody agrees to drive on the same side. There’s somewhat of a related problem in this area with folks walking on the wrong side of public trails. Many residents here grew up in left-hand convention countries. Ok w/ me if everyone decides to walk and drive on left side, no matter to me. Just wish everyone would agree to the same convention.