Stuff You Should Know

Stuff You Should Know

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March 25, 2020 14 min
One day in 1967, Sweden changed what side of the road its citizens drive on. It went surprisingly well, considering. Learn more about your ad-choices at
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Episode Transcription

The text below is machine transcribed.

And I got a debita everybody and welcome to the short stuff, it's Josh and Chuck and there's Jerry over there somewhere out there in the ether right.

I hope so - and this is this is stuff you should know short stuff. We should probably stop horsing around yeah, so I don't know why you said in a Gadadavida, I'm assum is that no, I think it's a Piglatin or Gibrish.

Oh really, yeah, it's in the garden of Eden, but for some reason he said INA, Gota Devida.

Why did you say it for this show it's just for fun.

It's a pleasant thing to hear: Don't you think I thought it was an Easter egg?

No, no, and now it's just totally ruined.

Well, we are talking about a pretty interesting thing that you teased out on an episode we did recently and one that is from an episode Wellf, it's not from an episode, but there's also a ninety nine percent invisible episode about this Yep.

There is, if you want to hear a better version tune into that w right, Roman Roman. has this beaten just about every way, but we'll try our best right.

Agree so what we're talking about today is called dog, an h and dog. An H is Swedish for our day or right day h. The H stands for Hougar, which is the sweetish word for right, and what the whole thing was really talking about was something called.

Oh Man, Hugar Traffic Gom, Lagninjin, Nice.

I don't know if Nice is the right word, but sure thank you and what that means is the right hand, traffic diversion and ultimately, what all of this all these words and oomlots all piled together mean is that this is the day dog. In H September, th, N, uad, nine Tuneen, sixty seven when Sweden said, were no longer driving on the left hand of the road like we have been since seventeen thirty four we're all of a sudden on one day going to switch over to the right hand, side, that's right, and I think, did you mention when they how long they had been driving on the other side. Yes, in seventeen, thirty, four, it's a long time. So what you're having to do is there's a couple of factors here. You've got to teach people how to do this literally, so they put together a pamphlet that literally told you how to do it, and then you got A it's an infrastructure project, supposedly the largest driving related and frastructure project ever undertaken by any country. Oh really, I know its definitely Sweden's largest infrastructure project. To that day, it was the largest fo for any country as far as traffics related largest traffic related and for stretch, girt.

Yes, what I just said: okay, I just couldn't believe my ears chuck but yeah yeah, so yeah, there's t e infrastructures section of it and then there's the public information campaign, and it was a lot more than just like a pamphlet. Pamphlets were step like one dot. You know, oh we'll, go with indicating that there's plenty other steps. How about that and n some of the other things they did was TV ads, radio ADS newspaper ads.

They came up with a logo for Dogan Age that was everywhere.

They had a a song contest to pick us a theme song for dog and H, and they came up with the good one.

I'm sure you listened to it yeah. It was good of you, Oh yeah yeah.

It was called well. The American translation is keep to the rights vincen sweet and it was by the Tele Stars and it was like you said, selected by a vote. It actually reached number five on their their charts, whatever the sweetest charts are, and there was also a weird little sly side, meaning because apparently keeping it to the right means to be faithful to your significant other as opposed to cheating on some which is going left.

Oh, I hadn't heard that before yeah wow, chuck thats, some that's a deep cut right. There S is fairly deep. So the the name of the song in Swedish is hall, Dig Til Huger Spensen, and I listened to it enough that I could have sung it, but enough time is the lap, since I've heard it so on. Can you say would have been great? No, do you think we've talked about it enough to play it at any point, or do we have to just tell people go. Look it up on Youtube.

No, I mean, let's could we play like a a version where we won't get sued?

I don't know we'll find out in the etit how about that all right. Well, let's play a little part right now.

Here is hall, Dig Til, Hugger Spensin by the Tele Stars, hol, it's just bad about as catchy as as it kiss. I'm surprised it only rose to number five on the huge parade, yeah.

Here's the thing with HD, though you know every municipality had to deal with their own issues. They had to change.

I mean when you think about it.

It's not just about educating the public that pamphlet that pamphlet I mentioned.

I want to make it clear that was not just like hey here's. What we're doing it is here is how to drive on the other side of the road. Oh Gotca, yeah and then you've got street signs got bus stops and you got traffic lights.

You Got Bicycle Anes. You got one way streets. You got buses that have doors on one side of the vehicle that now need doors. On the other side right, it was huge yeah. What one of the other things to was the the swets didn't even want to do this.

There was anot at all. There was a referendum that had been held ten years before when they started. Thinking about doing this, and like eighty three percent of sweetest voters said no yeah, they did not want to start driving on the right hand, side of the road and the government said well we're doing it anyway, and the reason why they wanted to do this in the first place was because Sweden was kind of lagging behind the rest of Europe, which had sted to increasingly or the rest of the world. I should say which has started to increasingly drive on the right hand, side of the road, and so that was one thing. Sweden didn't want to look backwards or anything like that.

But then the other thing is that they, the government, was like this may cause fewer fatalities, because, while we drive on the left side of the road we're buying cars, including Volvos, that are designed to be driven on the right hand, side of the road so you're driving on the left hand side of the road on the left side of your car, which means you were just kind of looking down into this little, ditch next to you with oncoming traffic, which seems it seems reasonable that they thought this was a dangerous situation.

Yeah. You know, I never really considered that, because I didn't wonder what the big deal was.

My only experience I think I've said before was when we were on the Australian tour.

I drove opposite side and right hand, sides steering wheelwise, but now that I think about it, I guess it would be a little weird to be opposite side with the regular setup right yeah.

It would be a little weird, like you'd, be really far removed from kind of where you need to be paying the most attention, I think, is the thing and - and they ultimately did show a decline in traffic accidents and fatalities because of dog and Gh, but they think it was because people were just paying more attention getting used to driving on the right hand side, because within two years it went back up to about normal yeah. I think people are a little extra cautious, which is great yeah.

Here's the thing, though, when you do something like this: It's not like little by little over the course of a month, you can start changing street signs, because that would be chaos right so the night before and the day before they had to shut down. Basically, almost all traffic, you had to have special permissions to have a car on the road at all right and they had to change three hundred and sixty thousand street signs right and less than twenty four hours were they successful, we'll? Let you know right after this message break inokay chuck. I can't stand the tension. Any longer were they successful in changing three hundred and sixty ousand street signs all across Sweden in one single night.

Well, I want to say for sure my gut says they may have missed one or two okay, but over over overall they were very successful at fourd. Fifty in the AM on September, thene thousand nine hundred and sixty seven bunch bunch, F people came out to watch.

There were cars on the road and they said, stop go to the other side and directed people. The other side and said all right have have a blast. Everybody Yeah.

There was like a countdown on the radio, and then there was the announcement after after they reached one that Sweden now drives on the right hand, side of the road and everybody cound start driving and I'm sure they were like wobbling and weaving and kind of like little kids on a bike with training wheels or after having the training was taken off. I should say I'll bet: it was adorable to see, but there were the next day that was a Sunday at like five am when they started and the next the next business day Monday.

There were no fatalities, nobody died. There were like a hundred and fifty seven car wrecks, which is slightly lower than a normal Monday in sweeten yeah, and it was not cheap, either. Obviously, thisis going to cost a ton of money at the time it cost six hundred and twenty eight million croner, which was astronomic yeah. It's about three hundred and sixteen million American dollar today, but about five percent more than the government estimated budget, which is not a bad overrun, no, not at all, and if you read some of the articles on it, we used in addition to a couple others this one BBC article about it. That was super interesting. They pointed out some of the people who were there and took part in this point out like dude you that was ridiculously cheap even for the time for the this.

The massive scale of this, not just the infrastructure again, but also tha, all of the public information campaign too.

They did it for cheap and they did it really quickly.

Yeah, it was quite a project my had is off to them for doing it by all accounts like pretty successfully yeah.

They did it and they said that's great but then, like I said, traffic fatalities went back up after a couple of years when people got used to it, and so Sweden undertook a project starting in one thousand, nine hundred and ninety seven, that that said, W we don't want any traffic fatalities, no matter what side of the road we drive on in our country, so they came up with a program called vision, zero and they've just been slowly but surely trying to wittle down the number of traffic fatalities and in two thousand and sixteen it was down to two hundred and seventy two Hu and seventy. That's a miniscule amount for a country, the size of Sweden for an entire year. So who knows if fever get to zero but hads off to them? For also for trying to do that?

Yeah, Anne for digging up Tella Star to cut the hits on Vision, Zero Right.

They literally had to dig one of the members up.

Oh Man, yeah.

I got nothing else except to recommend the ninety nine percent invisible episode because they do their show a little differently. So they got some cool interviews with people that were there at the time, and it's always, you know a little more dressed up than our show yeah, and by that I mean way more dressed up agreed. They do it very well over there. So that's IT for short stuff! Go head on over to ninety nine percent, invisible a! We will see you next time.

A DEOs stuff you should know, is production of iheart radios, hows stuff works for more podcast to my heart, radio, because it the iHeartRadio App, apple, podcasts or wherever you listen to your favorite, shows

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