Last Call – Allemande Right Edition

Dagen H, or H Day- 3, September 1967 was the day that the entire nation of Sweden switched from driving on the left to doing so on the right, like their neighbor Norway and the rest of Europe. At 4:50 all traffic was required to stop. They were then to switch to the alternate side of the side and stop again. At 5:00, they were allowed to move freely once again, but now on the opposite side of the road from just earlier that day. The following day, traffic accidents fell to below average numbers.
Geez, and we can’t even get the metric system over here.
Image source: []

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  1. Maymar Avatar

    I've been banging on for years about keeping right being safer, the idiots that share the road with me haven't really picked up on it yet.

  2. Age_of_Aerostar Avatar

    I'll have to dig a bit more into this, because I'm curious… when did the change all of the signs? Wouldn't all of the signs have to be at the least rotated 180 degrees so that you can see it on your side of the road? How about no right turn / no left turn signs?
    Even the lines painted on the road would have to be changed, as the side of the road for passing / no passing would now be different.
    Amazing that they were able to do it, and have such low accidents, but I'm still curious about all the details behind the switch.

    1. Mr_Biggles Avatar

      The Wikipedia page that dukeisduke linked to has some interesting info. Still, imagine doing it in a larger country. Workers roaming the streets on the morning of the big day wouldn't quite cover it.
      "As Dagen H neared, every intersection was equipped with an extra set of poles and traffic signals wrapped in black plastic. Workers roamed the streets early in the morning on Dagen H to remove the plastic. Similarly, a parallel set of lines were painted onto the roads with white paint, then covered with black tape. Before Dagen H, Swedish roads had used yellow lines."

  3. dukeisduke Avatar

    Wow, the black-and-white in the center foreground looks like a '66 Rambler American. We had one of those, and I still think the styling holds up well.

    1. Tomsk Avatar

      And there's a '60 Chevy nearest the camera next to the left curb.

      1. dukeisduke Avatar

        Yep, and a six-window at that. The year I was born. See any other American iron? What's that in the lower right corner?

    2. Syrax Avatar

      Renault used to build Ramblers from CKD in a Belgium factory.

  4. Age_of_Aerostar Avatar

    p.s. we still use the English system, so that stores can sell twice as many socket and wrench sets, etc.
    /end conspiricy theory

    1. M44Power Avatar

      So I have a place to blame my addiction for owning All the Pretty Sockets?

  5. PapayaSF Avatar

    IIRC they had a huge publicity campaign, then gradually dropped the speed limit until switchover day, then gradually raised it again. Accidents were indeed low at first, but increased in the following weeks/months as the switch was no longer uppermost in people's minds and they sometimes slipped back into old habits and reflexes.

  6. dukeisduke Avatar

    From the Wikipedia article:
    "The campaign included displaying the Dagen H logo on various commemorative items, including milk cartons, men's shorts and women's 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."
    Women's underwear?

      1. njhoon Avatar

        If she had it I could use the oposite side? Not that I would want to but I assume it would be ok then?

    1. Van Sarockin Avatar
      Van Sarockin

      Dagen H, Nevar Forget! That's a fantastic logo…

    2. Charles_Barrett Avatar

      Men's shorts…? So that's where the term "dressing right" vs. "dressing left" must have originated…

    3. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
      Peter Tanshanomi

      If you want, I could have the logo for sale on a Café Press thong in about 15 minutes.

  7. CJinSD Avatar

    That accidents immediately became less frequent only goes to show that right is right and left is wrong. There are no coincidences.

  8. Rust-MyEnemy Avatar

    Driving a late model Mercedes gives you the god-given right to travel in whichever lane you bloody well want.
    Or so it seems.

    1. Charles_Barrett Avatar

      Of course, because the new E-Class electronics compensates for abysmal lack of driving skill and attentiveness…

  9. Mr_Biggles Avatar

    For some odd reason, every time I say Dagen H to myself, I want ice cream.

  10. BGW Avatar

    I'm still confused why you used a picture of a standard DC-area commute on a story about Sweden.