Page last updated at 16:10 GMT, Monday, 7 September 2009 17:10 UK

Samoa driving switch: Your views

Traffic in Sydney, Australia - file photo
It is hoped used cars from Australia and New Zealand will end up in Samoa

From Monday, drivers in Samoa will steer their cars to the left-hand side of roads, instead of the right-hand side they are currently driving on.

The government has said there are sound economic reasons for the changes, but critics fear it might cause mayhem on the roads.

BBC News website readers, some of whom have experienced similar switch-over in other countries, have been sending in their views.


Switching to the left is going the British way. When America is sinking as a nation, why follow the American way. Most cars here are gas guzzlers and it is very difficult to import the petrol we need. We should definitely move to the left hand-side driving and get more economic cars. I support the government's dicision.
Upolu Apia, Olosega, Samoa

It sounds like a reasonable step to take. Auckland in New Zealand boasts one of the largest concentration of Samoan people in the world and they have to drive on the left-hand side of the road here. Much loved Japanese cars are very cheap to obtain and run. The only road carnage I can imagine would be if the transition process is not run well. Otherwise this switch has my thumbs up.
Mike, Christchurch, New Zealand

Last year I visited Samoa for over two weeks. We drove around in a rented car and it was very safe, normal left-hand driving. While Samoa has obviously many other problems, it appears odd that the prime minister is literally running in the wrong direction by making such a weird decision and focusing so much on such an issue. Samoans deserves a better governance.
Walter Sage, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

I'm Nigerian and I remember back in the 70s we switched from driving on the left to driving on the right and there were the same concerns about chaos and confusion, especially when one considers the reckless nature of most Nigerian drivers. In actual fact, the changeover went quite smoothly without the chaos that many had predicted. It also brought uniformity with the neighbouring countries, thus reducing delays at the borders. I have no hesitation in recommending the same to others.
Taiwo Hollist, Lagos, Nigeria

I hope the Samoans are not going to uphold their already negative reputation by switching to driving on the left like the British do. Any normal human knows that driving on the right is the natural side for the great majority of people on earth who are right handed.
Victor Yao, United States

I think it's a brave decision by their leaders to tackle a real problem. We complain when politicians are all talk and no action, but these Samoan politicians are actually trying to improve their country and economy with real actions. I applaud them and wish them well. I hope Samoans decide to work with their government to make this a success.
Glenn Lennox, Dallas, Texas, USA

If there are good economic reasons for doing so, then the government must proceed with these plans. There may be chaos, but this will only happen for the first few days or weeks. We're smart human beings, we'll eventually adapt!
Andrian Harsono, Staines, UK

We were living in Bahrain in the 70s when that country changed from driving on the left to driving on the right. In spite of all the predictions of accidents and chaos prior to the change it was almost a "non event". In a matter of days it seemed completely natural even though almost all vehicles were right hand drive until they were gradually replaced by new imports.
John Denton, Harpenden, England

I have been through a similar change from left to right in 1972 in Nigeria. Every driver was so cautious that they were almost touching the curb. No accidents were reported and the change was as smooth as could be. Nothing in it.
Christopher Papanastasiou, Athens, Greece

They changed from left to right in Sweden in 1967. The traffic moved over at 04:40am, then all cars were stationary for a whole 10 min until 05:00 then driving on the right side began. They had changed all the road signs during the night. Only 150 minor accidents were reported during the event. Perhaps it would work best if the heavy trucks make the move first - surely the others will follow suit.
Charles Clark, Malta

It might be worth pointing out that when Sweden switched from driving on the left hand side of the road to the right in the 1960s, the number of accidents actually went down. This was because people were driving far more carefully. Hope the same occurs in Samoa.
Jon Clements, Gothenburg, Sweden

I went through a driving switch in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in 1963, and we all heard horror stories of what would happen: deaths, crashes, mayhem... True, the Ethiopians were not considered the best of drivers in any case, but everyone concentrated and there were very few accidents. OK, I saw a bus stuck through the front window of a music store, and on the way home I noticed two army jeeps disputing which way to go around the roundabout at Mexico Square, but all in all the switch-over went smoothly. I think Samoa will find it the same.
Frank Ludwig Grossmann, Peyrissac, France

It's not like Apia is exactly a big city! I drove in Samoa last year and the only obstacles were chickens and the occasional goat crossing the road. Banning alcohol on the switch-over day is a good idea though...
Chris, Melbourne, Australia

In the British Islands we drive on the left side of the road and most of the vehicles are left-hand drive as well (mainly American imports). It is very hard to come by a right drive vehicle as most drivers feel safer driving this way. It is the same in a lot of Caribbean countries where we drive on the left but have left hand drive cars.
Will, Roadtown, Tortola



Print Sponsor


SEE ALSO
Samoa drivers brace for left turn
06 Sep 09 |  Asia-Pacific
Samoa road change plea rejected
01 Sep 09 |  Asia-Pacific


FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC navigation

BBC © 2013 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific