View Poll Results: Should the nations of the British Isles convert to rightism?

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Thread: Could the UK drive on the right?

  1. #1
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    Default Could the UK drive on the right?



    Motorists in Samoa have switched the side of the road they drive on, overnight. It's a move that Britain has considered - but how would it work?

    It's the kind of interview question that has reduced confident job seekers to quivering wrecks.
    Imagine you are the minister in charge of the UK's roads and you have to switch the country to driving on the right-hand side. How would you do it?
    A study of Samoa, in the South Pacific, this week might offer some clues. The country is experiencing its first day of driving on the left on Monday, the start of a special two-day bank holiday to ease Samoans into the new regime.

    What if the UK were to follow? Driving on the right would make trips to the European mainland easier, when taking or hiring a car. And cars with steering wheels on the left could be cheaper.
    The idea is not as fanciful as it sounds. Although the Department for Transport says it has no plans to change, it did examine such a plan in the late 1960s, two years after Sweden successfully switched to driving on the right.
    Its report rejected the idea on grounds of safety and costs. But that was before Britain's entry into the European Union and the opening of the Channel Tunnel, which for the first time established a land link between Britain and the Continent. So, if the UK was to think again about a switch, what would be the key issues?

    SIGNS & JUNCTIONS

    Road markings and roadside signs would have to be switched to the other side of the road, but ready in advance of the day of change, in a huge logistical exercise.
    One-way streets would have to be reconfigured and traffic lights with filters changed, says Paul Watters of the AA. To get an idea of the cost, changing signs from miles to kilometres alone was estimated at 750m, he adds.

    The biggest engineering issue would be highway building, says Benjamin Heydecker of the Centre for Transport Studies at University College London. About one in 10 motorway junctions is asymmetric or incomplete, so would need to be dug up and rebuilt.
    "Motorway signs would have to be turned round and repositioned, so approaches to junctions would not be in the same place."
    Accident blackspots would all need looking at too, because the signs there are site-specific and so would need to change.

    ADJUSTING SLIP ROADS


    "Entrance and exits to motorways are not symmetrical either, so there would be consequences there too," says Mr Heydecker.
    Slip roads that were deceleration lanes would suddenly be used for accelerating, so their lengths would need to be extended; and vice versa.

    EDUCATING DRIVERS

    Although many motorists would be used to driving on the right - thanks to trips abroad - a comprehensive retraining programme would be needed, according to Mr Heydecker. Particular emphasis would be put on negotiating roundabouts (which would run anti-clockwise) and left-hand turns, which would require cutting across oncoming traffic.
    After years of driving, habits are well entrenched and it might take more than a few lessons to get used to the new arrangements. But where could "learners" practise, before the switch?

    CAR STEERING WHEELS & BUS DOORS

    Making life even harder for motorists is the fixed right-hand driver's position of cars sold in the UK - suddenly drivers would find themselves further away from the centre of the road.
    Over time British drivers would buy cars with left-hand steering, so they would be changing gears with their right hands.
    The global manufacturing of cars would be simplified if all countries were to opt for left-hand steering, says Mr Heydecker.
    "If cars were all manufactured the same way, it would reduce the cost of design and improve the quality of vehicles."
    Public service vehicles like buses would also have to undergo a massive overhaul so that their doors were on the right-hand-side of the vehicle.

    LEARN FROM SWEDEN


    Preparations were made long in advance, says Niklas Stavegard of Motormannen, which is the Swedish Automobile Association.
    "All road signs were doubled, new signs on the right-hand side, which were covered until the day of the change. On the particular day, the left-hand side signs were covered and right hand side signs were used."
    The change was made at 0500 on Sunday 3 September 1967. All private traffic was banned between 0100 and 0600 and there was a total stop on all traffic at 0450, with a countdown on the radio to 0500.
    The speed limit in urban areas was lowered from 50km/h to 40km/h for a period of time after the change.
    A majority of all cars already had the steering wheel on the left side, so no change was made to cars.

    COST


    In 1969, the financial burden of making the switch was calculated by the government to be 264m - about 3.4bn today. But that would now be seen as a ridiculously conservative estimate.
    "Since that time, the road network and the level of sophistication of the network and its controlling infrastructure has grown enormously," says a spokeswoman for the Department for Transport.
    Additional costs would include all buses being changed, alteration to motorway entrances and exits, and traffic control systems.
    "Casualties would also be likely to rise, and the current cost of a fatality is 608,580," she says. "This could be particularly true for elderly road users who are less able to adapt to changed conditions."



    THE VERDICT


    The Republic of Ireland, which has already changed its road signs from miles to kilometres, briefly considered this move to greater European integration last year, when a pro-Brussels political party suggested it. But it was swiftly rejected.
    "When the question came up, it was followed by the question 'Is it needed?' and the answer to that was 'No', says Sean O'Neill of the Irish National Roads Authority.
    "If it was needed or if the UK did it, and left us as one of the last European countries driving on the left-hand side, then we would think differently."
    For a significantly bigger country, like the UK, with a relatively more developed road network, the challenge would be even greater.
    The immediate fear would be of road chaos and mass casualties, says Philip Gomm of the RAC Foundation.
    "Given that any change would have to be instantaneous, and the nation's roads are never quiet, only less busy - indeed Britain has some of the most congested roads in Europe - how do you seamlessly get everyone onto the other side of the carriageway?
    "The whole concept is mindboggling. It would be a logistical nightmare involving huge public education, vast sums of money and a massive amount of staff - and all so we can be like the French.
    "So probably the best advice to anyone even contemplating such a scheme is; don't bother. If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

    Source

    There used to be a time when headlines like 'FOG IN CHANNEL. CONTINENT CUT OFF.' meant something.



    Last edited by Beorn; 09-07-2009 at 04:56 PM.

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    I'm laughing already at the mess it will be by midnight when your governement will decide this.

    "You're on the wrong side, motherfucker"... "listen to the fucking medias, pratt".
    It's never too early to start beefing up your obituary.

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    heheh... better do it the careful way, by a gradual shift.

    First the heavy traffic shifts to driving on the right, later cars and finally motorcycles.. all in all a week for each shift

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    Quote Originally Posted by ikki View Post
    heheh... better do it the careful way, by a gradual shift.

    First the heavy traffic shifts to driving on the right, later cars and finally motorcycles.. all in all a week for each shift
    ?? that would be fun oncoming lorries in middle of the road!

    No we should not bow to stupid pressure from the continent, There is also no need as we don't share any road connection with any country that drives on the right it is never a problem.

    What is funny is that Scotland is full of arrows and signs telling you which side to drive on, while in England they are very rare only around ports. Tells you something about the scots ?
    Cattle die, kinsmen die,
    the self must also die;
    but glory never dies,
    For the one who is able to achieve it.

    Sayings of the High One.

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    Why on earth would we want to drive on the wrong side of the road? It's bad enough when you get to Europe.
    "Islam is a religion of peace" - David Cameron

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    Should the European Union switch to left-hand traffic ?

    Yes.
    How Turkey wants to conquer Europe: click here for more.
    Quote Originally Posted by Kemalist View Post
    Oh, come on. As if there are not enough Turks living in those countries to make counter-pressure. Even Merkel's Christian Democratic party has begun to have Turkish deputies elected. As a matter of fact; the Turkish population is rapidly increasing and Germany will soon have to come to a more pro-Turkish point. The same goes for your country, the Netherlands. In France; while there's a significant increase in right-wing movements; socialists are still in power and are preparing to lift their blocks upon Turkey's chapters.

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    BTW. I remember that I had posted a thread about Dagen H (September 3, 1967) when the Swedes switched to right-hand traffic.
    Perhaps it is interesting to look at it and see what that kind of change will bring.

    I propose left-hand traffic in all of the EU as it seems to be safer as well. A 1969 study by the British road engineer L.L Leeming showed that countries driving on the left-hand side of the road have a lower collision rate then those driving on the right-hand side of the road because of the way the human eye works. Or as wikipedia states: It has been suggested this is partly because humans are more commonly right-eye dominant than left-eye dominant. In left-hand traffic, the predominantly better-performing right eye is used to monitor oncoming traffic and the driver's wing mirror.

    I am yet to find his work that lead him to this conclusion - or the figures for that matter but if this is true then it is a sound reason to left-hand traffic.
    Last edited by The Lawspeaker; 09-07-2009 at 07:19 PM.
    How Turkey wants to conquer Europe: click here for more.
    Quote Originally Posted by Kemalist View Post
    Oh, come on. As if there are not enough Turks living in those countries to make counter-pressure. Even Merkel's Christian Democratic party has begun to have Turkish deputies elected. As a matter of fact; the Turkish population is rapidly increasing and Germany will soon have to come to a more pro-Turkish point. The same goes for your country, the Netherlands. In France; while there's a significant increase in right-wing movements; socialists are still in power and are preparing to lift their blocks upon Turkey's chapters.

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    Veteran Member Gooding's Avatar
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    Ooohh, you mean drive on the right! Sorry, I thought rightism was intended as a political term! In that case, I honestly don't know..

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    Seriously I don't know either if the brits like it that way why not I am just not used to it and am more likely to involve in accidents.
    It's never too early to start beefing up your obituary.

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    Yes. And you also need to start using the metric system.

    Of course you won't, but some day a new Hitler will come and kick your ass, and do the same that they did with the Austrians: order the tanks to drive on the right.

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