Högertrafikomläggningen

Dec 1, 2020

Recently I was reading an old car magazine (as you do) and came across the interesting tale of Dagen H. I do vaguely remember hearing about this at the time on the BBC TV news in the days when the 9 oclock news covered everything you needed to know in a swift 10 or 15 minutes.

Dagen H (Swedish for H Day…H being höger which is Swedish for right.) was Sunday 3rd September 1967.That was the day that Sweden changed from driving on the (proper) left-hand side of the road to driving on the right. How bonkers was that? Can you imagine the preparations involved and the work changing all signs and road markings overnight? Actually they had been building up to the moment of matching their driving to that of adjoining countries for many years. For a decade they had only sold left hand drive cars. So for a decade it must have been downright complicated when they were still driving on the opposite side. Overtaking must have been a nightmare.

Driving on the left is something that was done for many centuries long before cars. If you were riding your horse down a lane you kept to the left. This kept your right hand and sword hand available for any trouble ahead. As the majority of people are right handed this made perfect sense and thus when cars and motorbikes arrived the tradition continued (at least in this country).

I’ve driven a left hand drive car in the UK and (as well as overtaking safely requiring a passanger to advise you) I found the most difficult thing to get used to was using my right hand to change gear. It also made it difficult for me to reach out of the passenger window with my sword whilst driving alone.

2 Responses to “Högertrafikomläggningen”

  1. Ian Baker Says:

    Thanks for posting this – it brought back memories of reading about the change-over while I was in primary school in the late sixties. Having lived in the US for the past 20 years, I agree with you that changing gears smoothly with a manual gearbox was my biggest challenge in “driving stick” having spent all my driving life in the UK previously.


  2. Thanks for taking the trouble to post a comment Ian.


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