Border crossings and driving side.
June 15, 2006 8:09 AM   Subscribe

Have you ever experienced a border crossing somewhere in the world where you are required to drive on the opposite side after passing immigration?
posted by machaus to Travel & Transportation (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
From this great wikipedia entry:

There are still many instances of traffic having to change sides at border crossings, such as at those between Afghanistan and Pakistan, Laos and Thailand, Sudan and Uganda. Thailand is particularly notable in the context of border crossings, as it is the only sizeable country that has nearly all of its borders with countries that drive on the opposite side. It drives on the left, but 90% (4357km or 2707 miles) of its borders are with countries that drive on the right, with only Malaysia driving on the left since Burma (now Myanmar) changed from left-hand driving to right-hand driving in 1970.

That said, no, I've never experienced it personally.

One curious thing is that although Sweden has firmly changed to right-hand-side driving, the Stockholm subway runs the other way.
posted by jedrek at 8:14 AM on June 15, 2006

That's a funny question. There'd almost certainly be an offramp + overpass + onramp or elaborate signaling system to achieve that, wouldn't there. I think I like the offramp solution better for pure speed.
posted by empyrean at 8:15 AM on June 15, 2006

Well, it's not quite as sudden as you'd expect, but the Eurotunnel has this, between England and France. There are an awful lot of signs to remind you which side to drive on before you get out of the customs areas.

The rest of Europe, though is all on the same side (and there are no borders either, come to mention it.)
posted by DangerIsMyMiddleName at 8:22 AM on June 15, 2006

Yeah, the border between mainland China and Hong Kong or Macau is like this. Both HK and Macau drive on the lefthand side, while the mainland is on the right.

There's nothing special to it. If you go through in a car, you just have to hand one set of customs officials your papers through the opposite side window.
posted by taschenrechner at 8:38 AM on June 15, 2006

It was long ago so maybe I'm imagining it, but driving from Gibraltar into Spain in the '60s we had to change sides from British left to Napoleonic right. Not much traffic then (Spain was fairly hostile to Gibraltar) but iirc it ws well marked with stop signs etc. but had no crossover bridges.

Spanish customs/excise officers made us totally empty our vehicle beside the road, just for irritation's sake, so this may also be clouding my recollection.

I've heard that people on horseback rode on the left so their sword arms were positioned for defence, and that Napoleon decreed that his empire was peaceful thus people should ride on the right.
posted by anadem at 8:40 AM on June 15, 2006

Gibraltar drives on the right side (with lots of signs warning (UK) pedestrians to look left before crossing the street) so there's no cross-over. The Wikipedia article says it's been that way since 1929.

I saw a movie about Swedish scientists going to Norway in the 1950s when Sweden was still left-driving and at the border it was just a two-lane road with a no-man's land in between two guard posts. Only one car crossed at a time so they just changed lanes in the no-man's land.
posted by cardboard at 9:23 AM on June 15, 2006

Cecil Adams wrote briefly on this subject some time back.
posted by Johnny Assay at 9:33 AM on June 15, 2006

the Eurotunnel has this, between England and France

Similarly, any vehicle ferry between England and mainland Europe.

Don't know how reliable it all is, but here's a page about left vs. right driving with a bunch of links and whathaveyou.
posted by normy at 11:48 AM on June 15, 2006

That is a wonderful movie, cardboard. It does contain two border crossings of this type.
posted by QIbHom at 12:06 PM on June 15, 2006

Well, it's not quite as sudden as you'd expect, but the Eurotunnel has this, between England and France.

Just for clarity:
you cannot drive through the tunnel: it only operates a shuttle where cars are piggy backed on trains.
posted by dash_slot- at 12:52 PM on June 15, 2006

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