3 September 1967: Sweden switches Road sides

main-qimg-7776bd4dd7e0bbf4cd0332c09b7aeb8c-cI have been having an on-going debate with a US friend about which is the best side of the road to drive on. I have lived most of my life in left hand driving countries. Most of the world, however, drives on the right.

Fifty years ago today, Sweden switched the side of the road they drove on from left side to the right side.

This fascinating video explains that “fateful day”:

These images show the impact on streets:

Stockholm’s tram system was shut down as a result of the change. It was resurrected in 1991.Iceland switched in 1968 and Burma in 1970. General Ne Win, Burma’s then leader has been said that he had a dream that the country should switch directions. Others say his wife’s astrologer was the one who said it should happen.

Iceland switched from left to right in 1968 and Burma in 1970. General Ne Win, Burma’s then leader has been said that he had a dream that the country should switch directions. Others say his wife’s astrologer was the one who said it should happen.

When I lived in Nigeria, it was a left side country, an oasis surrounded by a sea of former French colonies (all Right)! I left in June, 1971 and in April, 1972, they changed sides!

The last country that “switched sides” was Samoa. In this case, they went from the right to the left on the basis that importing cars from Japan, Australia and New Zealand (all Left) would be cheaper. The event occurred on September 9, 2009:

There are just a few places where right-hand-drive countries meet left-hand-drive ones.

Thailand (Left) is the one with a greatest number of variety on its borders!   Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar (all Right) and Malaysia (Left) are their neighbours. A traffic light system regulates the flow of traffic from side to side on the busy crossings. Less busier ones are simply signposted.

Hong Kong and Macau (Left) roads connect to Mainland China (Right). The Lotus Bridge between Macau and Hengqin Island connect the two driving systems. Cars leave Macau driving n the left and follow a complicated switchback cloverleaf system on the Mainland side to loop back to the other side of the road. A similar cross over system operates at Lok Ma Chau between Hong Kong and China.

Other borders where there is this changeover include:

  • Pakistan (Left) with Afghanistan (Right) and Iran (Right) 
  • Uganda (left) with South Sudan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Rwanda (Right) 
  •  Ethiopia (Right) and Kenya (Left) 
  • Angola (Right) and Namibia (Left)
  • Zambia (Left) and  DR Congo (Right)
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