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BNE
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Samoa Switches To Driving On The Left

Tue Sep 08, 2009 8:23 am

Samoa switches to driving on left

After years of driving on one side of the road, Samoans are making the switch. The tiny Pacific island nation has become the latest country to change traffic patterns (the last was Ghana in 1974), but Samoa’s change-up is unique in that it is actually switching from right-hand traffic (used by 70 percent of the world’s nations) to left-hand traffic. Why? Supposedly to improve access to used vehicles from Australia and New Zealand.

Australia, New Zealand and possibly Japan can send all their old cars to Samoa.

One news story suggests that it could be dangerous, that could be good for importing as everyone starts crashing.

SERIOUS car smashes and road deaths are "all but inevitable" now Samoa has made the radical decision to drive on the left, an Australian accident expert has warned.

After a century of driving on the right, Samoa decided to switch sides to conform with Australia and New Zealand, and boost car imports from those countries.
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ManuCH
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RE: Samoa Switches To Driving On The Left

Tue Sep 08, 2009 8:29 am



Quote:
"Only those over 21 should drive, and don't drive if you are sleepy, drunk or just had a fight with your wife."

Priceless...

Seriously, this is going to be fun to watch. Was the Prime Minister on a power trip that he just had to decide "something"?
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fca767
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RE: Samoa Switches To Driving On The Left

Tue Sep 08, 2009 11:42 am

I don't see crashes happening...I drive on the left and when I went St Martin they drove on Right...That was my first time and I was fine...infact you are more carefull because of the change
 
sw733
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RE: Samoa Switches To Driving On The Left

Tue Sep 08, 2009 12:40 pm



Quoting FCA767 (Reply 2):
I don't see crashes happening...I drive on the left and when I went St Martin they drove on Right...That was my first time and I was fine...infact you are more carefull because of the change

Depends on the person. Some people can pick it up quickly, others cannot. Plus, you cannot always overcome your natural instincts.

For example, I have family in rural Wisconsin - 1 traffic light in the county (Oconto County). Many years ago, they put in a second, and a woman blew through it and was creamed by a truck. Did she know the stoplight was there? Yes. But did her habits tell her it was not? Yes. That is tough to overcome...
 
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Dreadnought
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RE: Samoa Switches To Driving On The Left

Tue Sep 08, 2009 1:27 pm

I heard that they are banning all consumption of alcohol for the next 3 days so that people can get used to driving on the other side. Hopefully, after that delay, when you get hammered you won't instinctively go the wrong way. Good luck with that idea Big grin
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OA260
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RE: Samoa Switches To Driving On The Left

Tue Sep 08, 2009 1:37 pm

Heres how the Swedes did it ::

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dagen_H
 
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Dreadnought
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RE: Samoa Switches To Driving On The Left

Tue Sep 08, 2009 2:14 pm



Quoting OA260 (Reply 5):
Heres how the Swedes did it ::

Interesting - it shows how hard it would be for a modern country to do it today - especially in Europe where headlamps are specifically designed for use with either left or right-side traffic. The beam on the inside light is much more focused and lowered and the outside light is higher and dispersed outward - if the UK were to change, everyone on the roads would be blinded until everyone got their headlights changed out. Sweden did it while it was still relatively simple, and it was still a hell of a task.
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andz
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RE: Samoa Switches To Driving On The Left

Tue Sep 08, 2009 3:18 pm



Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 6):
Interesting - it shows how hard it would be for a modern country to do it today - especially in Europe where headlamps are specifically designed for use with either left or right-side traffic. The beam on the inside light is much more focused and lowered and the outside light is higher and dispersed outward - if the UK were to change, everyone on the roads would be blinded until everyone got their headlights changed out. Sweden did it while it was still relatively simple, and it was still a hell of a task.

I think the headlights are less of an issue than the fact that everyone is now sitting on the wrong side of the car! Imagine trying to see to overtake in a car with the steering wheel on the left, driving on the left.

Anyway, one more country sees the light!
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britjap
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RE: Samoa Switches To Driving On The Left

Tue Sep 08, 2009 3:48 pm



Quoting Andz (Reply 7):
Anyway, one more country sees the light!

Indeed. They will certainly be in great company. UK, Japan, Singapore to name a few.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Right_and_left_hand_traffic

Some quite interesting stuff in there.

 Smile
 
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fca767
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RE: Samoa Switches To Driving On The Left

Tue Sep 08, 2009 4:00 pm



Quoting SW733 (Reply 3):
Depends on the person. Some people can pick it up quickly, others cannot. Plus, you cannot always overcome your natural instincts.

For example, I have family in rural Wisconsin - 1 traffic light in the county (Oconto County). Many years ago, they put in a second, and a woman blew through it and was creamed by a truck. Did she know the stoplight was there? Yes. But did her habits tell her it was not? Yes. That is tough to overcome...

Yes  Smile
And that woman...if it's a crossroads anyway...why didn't she slow down even if there were no traffic lights...wouldn't you do that anyways for safety
 
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BNE
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RE: Samoa Switches To Driving On The Left

Tue Sep 08, 2009 10:51 pm



Quoting BritJap (Reply 8):

Interesting part about safety from Wikipedia.

Quote:
Research in 1969 by J. J. Leeming showed countries driving on the left have a lower collision rate than countries driving on the right. 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. In right-hand traffic, oncoming traffic and the driver's wing mirror are handled by the predominantly weaker left eye. In addition, it has been argued that left sided driving is safer for elderly people given the likelihood of them having visual attention deficits on the left side and the need at intersections to watch out for vehicles approaching on the near-side lane.

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TransIsland
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RE: Samoa Switches To Driving On The Left

Wed Sep 09, 2009 1:43 am



Quoting Andz (Reply 7):
I think the headlights are less of an issue than the fact that everyone is now sitting on the wrong side of the car! Imagine trying to see to overtake in a car with the steering wheel on the left, driving on the left.

Not that big a deal. We drive on the left here, yet the majority of our cars are imported from the U.S., and are thus left-hand drives. Overtaking is quite possible and not that hard.

What gets annoying though is that all of our drive-thrus (airport parking lot, fast food, etc.) cater to these dumb American cars with the steering on the wrong side (can you guess I have a Japanese right-hand drive?)... sometimes, when I feel particularly silly, I drive through those backwards.
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MillwallSean
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RE: Samoa Switches To Driving On The Left

Wed Sep 09, 2009 2:24 am

In the case of samoa this isnt such a bad idea or a political powertrip. Its more about adopting to the present situation.
Samoa is breathtakingly beautiful and according to me the nicest destination in Polynesia. (French Polynesia is to commercialised and expensive even though the scenery is even better)

But there are more Samoans living in the Auckland region than in Samoa.
Having been administered by NZ and having special rules for migration to NZ, the Samoan economy is tied to NZ in very many ways.
To a lesser degree to Australia as well.

being able to import cars from NZ and Australia will lessen the cost for cars and since trade is already fairly large between the islands and Auckland the transport costs will go down as well.
as it is now Samoa imports their cars from the US primarily and its vehicle park reflects whats available in the US. Slightly larger and more petrol thirsty cars.

the government is doing two things here, reducing the cost of cars and changing the vehicle park away from the larger US vehicle park towards the smaller NZ vehicle park.
(Now we all know that there is plenty of variety on car size in both the US and NZ but the average car is what we are talking about here, we also know that the average Samoan families are on the larger side and that their bodyweight often are rather high so the change of vehicle park will be interesting to watch)

Samoans are the most friendly and nice people I have met by the way.
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