I had to check my calendar this morning. I was feeling groggier than usual after the long weekend and I thought maybe it was April 1st. BBC World News was announcing that the nation of Samoa had just switched to driving on the left hand side of the road.
Just over a year ago Blighty's Blog reported that Prime Minister Gordon Brown was planning to switch British drivers over to the right hand side of the road in time for the London Olympics in 2012 (read "Brits to Drive on the Right?").
Dry British Humour
That post was written in dry British humour style. So dry, in fact, that the hard copy pinned to the back wall of the store has misled many customers. Some come up to the cash desk shaking their heads in disbelief at how far off the beaten track Britain's unpopular PM has slid.
That post was, of course, a spoof. It told of a 2-phase transition in which cars would do the switchover first as a trial. Later, if the transition was successful, trucks and buses would also switchover to the right.
Three Cups of Coffee Later
So, when I heard the BBC reporter telling viewers of a smooth transition in Samoa I was a complete skeptic. Three cups of coffee later I checked the BBC News website to dispel my skepticism. Yes, it is true. At 0600 today, sirens sounded and all the drivers in Samoa crossed over to the other side of the road.
Stone Cold Sober
A two day holiday preceded the switch and alcohol sales were suspended to ensure that everybody was stone cold sober. Complaints poured in about the driver's side door being on the wrong side of the vehicle but no accidents were reported.
Yes, Blighty's Blog has a reputation for being written with tongue-in-cheek and should often be read that way, but this story is (to the best of our knowledge) completely true. The BBC News link "Samoa Switches to Driving on the Left" may not work for ever, but while it does you can read the story for yourself.