Dagen H, the day Sweden switched sides of the road, 1967

Dagen H (H day) was the day, 3 September 1967, on which traffic in Sweden switched from driving on the left-hand side of the road to the right. The “H” stands for “Högertrafik”, the Swedish word for “right traffic”. After all, Sweden’s Scandinavian neighbors were on the right side of the road, most of Europe was on the right side of the road, and Swedish cars had left hand steering.

Sweden’s early automotive era relied on imported American automobiles. Sweden had, nevertheless, maintained a dominant left-hand traffic system since the mid 18th century. Initially, the usage of American cars (with drivers positioned on the left side of the vehicle) in left-hand traffic was advantageous to early drivers. It allowed them to negotiate the tight squeezes past oncoming traffic by paying close attention to the underdeveloped left shoulders of the country’s old roads.
By the 1950s and 1960s, increased auto traffic and more developed roads created dangerous overtaking situations due to the mismatch of left-hand roads and American style left-side drive. Therefore, the Swedes implemented a switch in the name of logic, safety and consistency with their Scandinavian and continental counterparts.


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