• Feb 10, 2008
Ireland driveWe don't mean moving to the right ideologically, mind you. Senate leader Donie Cassidy wants Ireland to consider changing which side of the road people drive on. Like England, Ireland drives on the left side of the road, which might be a problem for an increasing number of people working in or visiting the country. The growing workforce migrates in large part from other parts of continental Europe. Similarly, Americans make up a good number of the tourists visiting Ireland. The common denominator is that both of those groups drive on the right side of the road in their native lands. By switching sides, Cassidy believes that the number of accidents involving visitors not accustomed to the left-side arrangement could be reduced.

Conveniently, he doesn't mention the potential driver error scenarios facing an entire Irish population that has only ever driven on the left if it's forced to summarily change sides to cater to visitors. Unsurprisingly, there's opposition to his idea. The local automobile association calls it "completely impractical," for example. Cassidy, possibly realizing that his idea might fall flat, has a Plan B. This week, he suggested imposing lower speed limits on drivers visiting from right-driving nations, which could create an entirely different mess. After all, if the number of foreign workers and tourists is big enough to warrant specific driving legislation, slapping them all with a lower speed limit is going to put a lot of slowpoke out-of-towners on the roads. Here's a novel idea: visitors should adapt to the country they're driving in, instead of making the country adapt to them. And if, as a tourist, you're not comfortable with the left-side-drive arrangement, do yourself (and everyone else) a favor: don't drive.

[Source: Reuters]


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  • 42 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      Has this politician, ever made the switch himself?. He should try it for a few weeks first. In fact, can he even drive.
      Larry
      • 6 Years Ago
      As a former science teacher... I blame other teachers here, in the USA for the resistance to adopting metric. I also blame MY teachers from the 50's and 60's. Many teachers burden students with pages of "conversion problems," i.e., how many of THIS equals how many of THAT? I reassured my students that a liter is close to a quart, a kilometer is a bit more than half a mile, ETC., ETC., ETC.! NO REASON to sit and do "CONVERSIONS!" I hope they remember me to this day!
      • 6 Years Ago


      The best possible political solution would be to alternate days. Drive left on odd days, drive right on even days, and on holidays, the reverse would be true. ;-)
      • 6 Years Ago
      I just got back from south Africa and it really isn't that bad. It takes a couple days but once you remember to look both ways when you turn right you are fine.

      What is dangerous is being a pedestrian. you might not realize it but when you step out into the street you only look left, then you look right. but it SA if you that by the time you look right you are already under a Siyaya taxi.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Funny... the U.S.V.I. drive on the right and its loaded with left sided cars. Wait a min... they drive on the left in left sided cars. No... they oh screw it! It more facked up than Ireland!
      • 6 Years Ago
      note: i think the title of this should have been "Irish politician wants country's drivers to move left." Although I know you are referring to the car moving onto the left side of the road, the picture makes it seems like you are reffering to the position of the driver in the car.

      anyways, the problems i see with this:
      1)the entire country has RHD cars. there would be quite a number of cars driving on the left side of the road with RHD cars for a long time until the number of new cars starts to outnumber old cars. This would take many, many years for the RHD cars to phase out.
      2) Do they just expect everyone to wake up morning and all switch to driving on the other side of the road? People will forget, there will be bad accidents. Plus when is the exact moment that they make the change? There are always people on the roads.
      3) Road signs...they will all be on the wrong side of the road. And it would be pretty much impossible to put up all of the new signs instantaneously.

      I do agree that since the world is becoming less and less separated because of how technology allows to communicate and move freely around the world(more so than before, and probably even more in the future) we need to move to much more standardized systems.
      I think that measurement systems will probably become standardized sometime in the future, and we will all speak one universal language. So, we will have to have everything else be more standardized, like have everyone drive on the same side of the road.
      Although I do see this as something that will happen/will need to happen, I dont know exactly how such an endeavor will be executed.
      • 6 Years Ago
      So did Sweden, Finland, Portugal, Argentina, a lot of central Europe, and parts of Canada, Italy, Spain, Poland, China, and most of the rest of central and eastern Europe.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Nice to see the USA doesn't have a monopoly on idiot politicians.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Compromise: America adopts the Metric system, the rest of the world drives on the right side of the road.
        • 6 Years Ago
        * f3rg - Done Deal!

        Think long term people. Eventually, this will happen. As we struggle to save energy & time, it only makes sense for manufactures to research, develop & make a common driveline.

        Insurance, maintenance, parts, repairs, etc.

        Since over 3/4 of the world is LHD it only makes sense to swich. Its simply a matter of time & is a bullet which must be bit today, tomorow, 50 years. The sooner we do it, the better for everyone.

        The Metric System is another perfect example!

        Who is the US largest trading partner? Thats right, the Canucks. Where will the new Camaro & many other vehicles be built? Where will the New Cadillac & Corvettes be sold? Globally & especially Europe. Most of the world is Metric. It a far more accurate, easier to calculate & understand & user friendly system. This too will come & for every day of its delay means greater consumption of energy, resources, time, $, etc.

        Think of the poor mechanics which must face redundancy having to have multiple sets of tools to perform the same task?

        Check these excellent historical references to see the origins of traffic directionality.

        http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=traffic+directionality

        http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=right+hand+drive+history

        http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=left+hand+drive+history
      • 6 Years Ago
      It's a silly proposal, but FWIW, I would argue that there are dramatic differences between driving styles among LHD countries, many with more drastic effects than the wheel swap. Sure it take a bit to get used to the switch, especially with a manual gear change, but it takes more to adapt to the aggressive driving style in say Rome or Tel Aviv if one's from somewhere like North Carolina. (Don't misconstrue this please, I use this example because when I drove around NC, mostly in the Triangle area, and it was an absolute pleasure, very courteous drivers...go Tarheels!).
      • 6 Years Ago
      Sweden was the last country to convert to LHD in 1967, whereas some European countries converted as soon as they were under German control in the 30's.

      This is a pretty ridiculous proposal though, it's not going to bode well.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I think they should phase it in over a number of weeks :-)
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