The Day Sweden Switched Lanes Forever

The Day Sweden Switched Lanes Forever
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    When it comes to car safety Sweden has a pretty good reputation.
    And it's based in fact.
    Sweden has one of the world's lowest rates of traffic fatalities - only 2.8 deaths for
    every 100,000 people
    Here's how.
    As Swedish society became motorized fatalities quickly began to rise.
    The number of deaths on the roads more than doubled between 1950 and 1970
    One of the reasons was the majority of cars were left-hand drive imports being driven
    on the left-hand side of the road.
    It means the driver is closer to the curb and further away from the centre of the road,
    which makes overtaking much harder, as the driver can't see around the car in front.
    Something which makes head-on collisions much more likely.
    But on September 3rd 1967 the Swedish Government made a big change in the name of safety.
    "Sweden decides to switch from left to right!"
    The country changed to driving on the right side of the road.
    Its traffic infrastructure was completely revamped in just one day -
    that included changing 360,000 road signs.
    Understandably, safety was a huge focus.
    The Government created a special team, the 'Rightlane Driving Commision'
    to make sure the changeover went without incident.
    Speed limits in urban areas were reduced.
    Outside of towns they were introduced where previously they hadn't existed.
    'H Day', for högertrafik, Swedish for 'right traffic' even had its very own song.
    There were plenty of other every day reminders too like these helpful glasses or H-Day underwear.
    The operation was deemed such a success, the government formed
    The Swedish Road Safety Agency the very next year.
    Some of the first things it achieved?
    Lowering speed limits, and making seat belts and motorcycle helmets law.
    Meanwhile, the country's biggest car maker, Volvo, invented the industry-changing
    3-point safety belt, giving up the patent so any automaker
    could use it in their vehicles.
    More than a million people worldwide are thought
    to have been saved as a result.
    Since the beginnings of the Swedish Road Safety Agency, fatalities dropped from 1307 in 1970
    to 263 in 2015
    What makes that even more astonishing is that in the same period the number of vehicles
    on the roads more than doubled.
    A lot of this is possible because Sweden is one of the wealthier countries in the world.
    It's invested a lot of money in road infrastructure, separating cyclists and pedestrians from traffic
    -- and strictly policing speed limits and drink driving.
    In fact, the richer the country, the lower the number of fatalities generally.
    The ultimate goal is 'Vision Zero' - where there aren't any deaths on Sweden's roads at all
    For many countries there's still a trade-off between mobility and the deaths that come
    as a result of it.
    In Sweden, safety has been the priority over speed and convenience, since H-Day,
    September 3rd 1967.
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