Skip to comments.PHOTOS: Sweden 1967 ... Traffic Flow Switched From Left Side Driving To Right Side Driving
Posted on 06/06/2013 7:22:11 PM PDT by DogByte6RER
3rd September 1967:
Traffic in Sweden switched from driving on the left to driving on the right
Dagen H (H day) was the day on which traffic in Sweden switched from driving on the left-hand side of the road to the right. The change was widely unpopular, The campaign included displaying the Dagen H logo on various commemorative items, including milk cartons, mens shorts and womens underwear. Swedish television held a contest for songs about the change; the winning entry was Håll dig till höger, Svensson (Keep to the right, Svensson) by Rock-Boris.
(Excerpt) Read more at retronaut.com ...
That site is run by a bunch of liberal toons.
Good start for Sweden.
Now, time to switch from left side politics to right side politics.
They should have eased into the switch by having the cars drive on the left and trucks on the right. (cough cough)
I recall when that happened in Eastern Kentucky ~ at night! WITH NO HEADLIGHTS EITHER
In the US we tend to stay to the right when going down a supermarket isle or walking on the sidewalk... it's just the opposite somewhere like Britain.
Push your grocery trolley down the right side of the supermarket isle in London and you will cause a pile up :-)
BAD IDEERS PING!
Did the driving patterns that emerged after the automobile became popular (affordable) reflect the patterns that horse and buggy traffic was using?
If you look it up, 60% of the world’s population drives on the right, and 40% on the left, mostly because China drives on the left.
I’ve never had to drive on the left myself, but its scared the holy hell out of me in several Caribbean countries, especially when heading into a roundabout.
Actually, that’s a darn good question.
Can I get on this list?
There are plenty of early photographs of pre-automobile traffic in American cities. I haven’t paid attention, I guess.
e.g. US Virgin Islands.
Drive on the left with left hand cars (wheel closest to the shoulder). Now that's a seat biter!
It’s really not that difficult to switch. When driving, just make sure the driver is toward the middle of the road and the passengers are on the side of the road.
I make the switch frequently. I am a US citizen and I work in Indonesia. The only problems occur is when there is no other traffic on the road.
You should see my kids though when I drive on the left in the US. They really hollar at me, “MOM GET OVER YOU’RE IN THE MIDDLE!!!!” Me: “NO ONE ELSE IS AROUND. WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL?” I try to do that at least once when I’m in the states.
Sorta reminds one of Massachusetts, where everyone drives in the middle.
But it probably is as old as roads. Also ships have similar rules.
Nope. Japan does. From the air, I think Japan look a lot like England, except the pattern of the fields is more regular. The similarity is spooky for the brief period of time between when you can see traffic moving on the left side of the road, and when you can see the Japanese writing on bill boards and buildings.
Of course every Englishman and every Japanese I have ever mentioned that too has taken offense...
China does not.
I think I read here on FR that we drive on the Right because the Brits drove on the Left.
It started with Horse Drawn Wagons in the Cities after the Revolutionary War.
I cannot imagine driving a Stick and shifting with my Left Hand. As far as I’m concerned, it’s against Nature. LOL
I lived in England for about a year in my mid thirties, and had to learn to drive on the left. Only had a couple of scares, but when I came home and got into my American car, the first thing I did was --- you guessed it --- I pulled right into oncoming traffic.
Thank goodness the opposing traffic was stuck behind a red light about a block away!
And then, of course, there are those countries where people drive anywhere and anyway they feel like. And those are scary, scary places...
First time I ever drove a right driver car on the left hand side of the road was in England. It was an old Toyota stick shift sedan. Man, it was completely weird shifting with my left hand. Thank goodness the pedals were in the standard configuration.
If there'd been the slightest bit of traffic that night, I don't think I would have made it.
As dumb as this sounds, I could never live where they drive on the Left side of the road.
Then again, I wouldn’t live where I was unable to own Firearms either.
Rules out a whole bunch of places. Next stop Wyoming.
I get ya, but you get used to it if you live in such a place long enough. Just conditioning, I guess.
A word of advice... If you're ever visiting a country where they drive on the left, look BOTH ways before stepping off the curb. I once got hit by a passing car in London because I instinctively looked to the left as I was stepping into an intersection. I never saw the car coming from the right.
If you want to test your driving nerve, try driving an English country road at night time. They wind, they are lined with hedges so you can't see what's coming around the bend, and English drivers are impatient. They are right up your ass if you don't drive fast enough. Oh, least I forget you drive on the wrong side of the road. And to add to the challenge, English roads are about 60 percent the width of American roads.
I was in London exactly eight hours on a layover back in 1990.
Went to Piccadilly, took a Bus Tour, hit a Pub and then back to the Airport. Come to think of it, I had a bite at a Taco Bell, couldn’t stomach the English Food they served at the Pub. I’m a real Anthony Bourdain, NOT.
I will heed your advice should I ever return there, which isn’t likely with the Muzzie takeover of the Once Great Britian.
Vacation destination choices are getting very slim nowadays.
India drives on the left. China drives on the right.
After driving in India for 3 years now, shifting with my left hand is not as bad as I thought. Many English drivers point out that, at least for those who are right-handed, shifting with your non-dominant hand means you can control the vehicle better, and I have found there to be some truth in that.
I still get the occasional “this is completely wrong” feeling when driving though.
I remember hearing from a guy years ago, probably in the 80s or late 70s, that he was in Sweden that day, and it was crazy.
In fact I didn’t remember it was Sweden, just that it was some Scandinavian country.
In the US we tend to stay to the right when going down a supermarket isle or walking on the sidewalk... it's just the opposite somewhere like Britain."
When I push my cart down the left side of the aisle I often get a very annoyed glare from the greatly inconvenienced person coming the other way.
It's not really that big of a deal.
It helps that you are sitting on the right side. You just need to remember that you, as the driver, need to be closest to the middle of the road. As for shifting, it's a relatively low-resolution problem. Your left hand will do fine.
Over the course of a few hours, I once went from driving an automatic compact in Boston to driving a four-speed diesel 17-passenger van in the UK. Picked up the rental at Heathrow and drove it west to Wales and all around. No problem. And I'm a total schlub at such things.
Gallons to liters and GBP to USD did have an interesting effect on the AX card, however.
You forgot to mention that English country roads undulate in width, never quite making it to a full two lanes and often narrowing to a car’s breadth.
Protip: never play chicken with farm vehicles. They will pitilessly mow you down....
This list belongs to Charles Henrickson. Write to him. In the mean time, I’ll put you on my copy.
I think that is perfectly natural, a convention.
In the Navy: “General Quarters, General Quarters! All hands man your battle stations. Up and forward to starboard, down and aft to port...”
It started with Horse Drawn Wagons in the Cities after the Revolutionary War.
Merrycan drivers sat in the proper place and drove on the proper side of the road all through the 19th century and into the early auto era
I work in a surface mine with left-hand traffic, and switch over every day at the gate. The mine roads are unpaved, so I seldom find myself driving on the wrong side on pavement, but I often drive to the left on dirt roads now. Around here, though, most of the other people driving on the back roads also work at the mine, so they’re likely to be on the wrong side too, and it all works out.
Good point. I was nearly hit by a delivery van in London for the same reason. Glad I couldn’t understand what the driver shouted.
It works the other way, too. I remember reading somewhere that Winston Churchill was hit by a car because he looked the wrong way as he started to cross a street. I think it happened in New York shortly after WWII, but I’m not certain, and I don’t have the book around.
The way I heard it, in the Middle Ages men riding horses would ride on the left in case when they encountered someone, that person was an enemy and then they would have their right hand (their sword-wielding hand) closest to the other man while trying to defend themselves.
According to that version, riding on the left was standard everywhere until the French Revolution, but the revolutionaries changed that because they were breaking with tradition in as many areas as they could. That custom then spread to many other countries, but not to Britain and its colonies (except Canada where it would be inconvenient to have the opposite of the US).
I think the incident with Winston Churchill was in 1931 or thereabouts—definitely before WWII. George Will, I think it was, mentioned it in a column, reflecting on how different history might have been without Churchill as Prime Minister during WWII (if he had been killed).
That is exactly what Sweden had: Cars with the steering wheel on the left, which made the switch to right-hand traffic easier. Don’t ask me why this was so. Maybe the need to overtake others weren’t as great in Sweden with its low population density as it was in England?
Anyway, it was a huge change with all the roads that had to be rebuilt and re-marked, traffic signs moved etc, etc all over the country.
Thanks for the information. I read about the incident in a biography written by Churchill’s bodyguard, but I can’t recall the book’s name. I read it at 9 or 10, nearly 50 years ago, so I’m not surprised that I remembered the details wrong.
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