Wednesday, February 22

Sweden Switches

On September 3, 1967 (aka H-Day) traffic in Sweden switched from driving on the left-hand side of the road to the right.  At the time, all of Sweden's immediate neighbors drove on the right and most Swedes drove left-hand drive vehicles... Can you imagine the difficulties of driving on the left-hand side of the road with a left-hand drive car?

Nonetheless, the change came with much opposition.  In 1955, 83% of drivers voted to keep driving on the left-hand side of the road, despite the many instances of head-on collisions when passing on two-lane highways. 

It's amazing to think how much had to be altered to implement this change...

On H-Day, all non-essential traffic was banned from the roads in the early morning (in some instances, the ban lasted all day) to allow crews to reconfigure intersections.  Bus stops had to be constructed on the other side of the street, and over 1,000 new buses were purchased with doors on the right-hand side. Some 8,000 older buses were retrofitted to provide doors on both sides. 

What an undertaking! 

Photo Credit: The Washington Post

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