Insights from the UK and beyond
Should Britain be driving on the right?
Much to their annoyance, Samoans are having to get used to driving on the left from this week.
The switch is the idea of Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, who says it will be more economical for Samoans to buy new and used cars from Pacific neighbours Australia and New Zealand.
It is the first time for some 40 years since a country has switched driving sides — Sweden made the change in the late 1960s.
The (possibly untrue) story was told at the time of the transport minister of an African country that was also thinking of switching, who was asked how he planned to make the change from left to right. He answered: “gradually.”
Britain looked at the idea of conforming with Europe after Sweden’s move but the logistics were so forbidding that nothing ever came of it. Apart from changing all the road signs, there were huge problems with motorway junctions, changing the side of bus doors, switching traffic lights and so on. It would have cost billions.
But the idea of Britons being able to take their cars through the Channel tunnel and seamlessly join the continental road system without having to have the front-seat passenger as a white-knuckle advisor on potentially fatal overtaking decisions remains attractive to many.
Do you think Britain missed the boat? Should we have made the switch to driving on the right? Could we still?