Adjacent countries that drive on opposite sides of road

How do countries handle - that is, what traffic configuration do they implement at border crossings where two nations have different laws concerning the side of the road one drives on?

I think it was Sweden that made the big switch to match continental Europe a decade or two ago? And Japan - one island had been switched by the occupying Americans to drive on the wrong side, and a while ago made the switch back to match the rest of Japan. But what they did at the “intersection point” before that, I don’t know.

Basically, they use border control to funnel people into the right places. You can see a good one at the Hong Kong/China border control. Most of the others seem to use a similar thing. Or they don’t care - the Pakistan/Afghanistan one seems particularly light on any actual control, and they seem to just… try not to crash into each other.

Here’s an article on it.

There’s a variety of ways, including a simple traffic stop to switch, complicated bridge designs, and such. In many cases there just isn’t enough traffic to make it worth putting in a complex scheme.

Mostly, we’re fortunate that most of the remaining left side drive countries are islands. There aren’t too many cases this occurs anymore.

Sweden switched to right side driving in 1967.

What the fuck are you talking about? You go into in parking area (using the correct side for country of departure) are checked and then leave using the correct side for country of arrival.

On the China border there is a tunnel and you see signs warning you before you enter the customs area.

There is of course a tunnel under the English Channel between The UK and France. Here is a video showing a driver entering the EuroTunnel from the UK side. Looks like you just switch to the right side after the passport checks:

Sweden switched in September 1967. I was there that summer and they had all of the new stop signs, etc. in place but covered. One Sunday(? I’m pretty sure it was) they were going to go out and uncover the new ones and cover the old ones.

We drove across the Swedish-Norwegian border at some place pretty much on a line between Stockholm and Bern so it was probably a fairly well used crossing point though I don’t recall much traffic. You could travel between Denmark, Sweden, and Norway with no border control. There was no building or parking lot there were simply two concrete islands in the middle of the road with signs. The first read keep left. (though as I didn’t read Swedish or Norwegian, I assume what I saw was an arrow pointing left). The second sign read Keep right. (ditto).

Moderator Note

Let’s dial it back. No warning issued,

General Questions Moderator

There’s a column from a former Perfect Master about this. Probably not his best column, though.

Sweden’s “Dagen H”:

That demonstrates that it CAN be done. As observed, the bordering countries of Finland and Norway were driving on the right. Another reason they had for switching is interesting - they were already mostly driving cars with the steering wheels on the “wrong” side:

That was because many of them at that time drove American import vehicles. Before Sweden had a lot of traffic, and had very narrow roads, that was actually seen as an advantage as it allowed the driver to squeeze by on narrow roads more easily by having a good view of the side of the road out the driver’s side window.

It’s all one-way as you drive onto the trains, so you’re never “driving on the right” in the UK. Similarly the first bit as you leave the train when you get to France is one-way, but there are signs to remind you to keep right as you emerge into France proper (you can see one at 14:25 in that video). In practice it would be well-nigh impossible to drive on the wrong side straight out of the tunnel, because the exit road funnels you onto a dual carriageway (divided highway).

Missed the edit window: Similarly, when you arrive off the Eurotunnel train in England, you are funnelled along one-way roads. At the first point where you join a two-way road, there is a sign to remind you to keep left:,1.1031158,3a,21.4y,273h,89.95t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1souVszPfIV0bi4LRjX95tzg!2e0!7i13312!8i6656. Then there are fairly regular reminders:,1.1042497,3a,25.9y,92.51h,82.27t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sYvTabIQo6PETjVegKqFGyQ!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

(For anyone who isn’t aware, you don’t drive through the Channel Tunnel, you either take a Eurostar passenger train, or else drive your car onto trains called Eurotunnel or “Le Shuttle”).

There aren’t that many boundaries between countries where the side of the road you drive on changes:

A lot of the left-driving countries are islands (including Ireland, the U.K., Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, and Japan). In South America, it’s just Guyana and Suriname, so if you drive into those countries from elsewhere in South America, you have to change sides. In Africa, it’s a set of countries all together in the southeast of the continent. In Asia, it’s Thailand, plus a set of countries all together in the area around India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, etc. So it’s not as though you can expect to go driving on a long journey and constantly go back and forth from one side to the other.

As far as I can tell from looking at Google Maps, there aren’t any roads that cross the borders of Guyana or Suriname. There is a car ferry from French Guiana into Suriname, but apart from that, you’re hacking through jungle or taking a boat across a river.

All of Southern and Eastern Africa and the entire Indian subcontinentdrive on the left.

Most of the countries, not most of the population. Yes, the population of those countries driving on the left is often small. Still, it’s a whole lot of islands.

Ever since they built the Suez Canal, Africa has been an island, right?

:smack: n/m, although I think that’s irrelevant.

Although actually, even that is wrong, obviously it is relevant because it’s country-to-country links that are the issue. Forget I said anything.