Switch to right hand traffic in Czechoslovakia

Switch to right hand traffic in Czechoslovakia

The switch to right hand traffic in Czechoslovakia describes changes in the rules of the road in 1938/1939.

Traditionally, traffic had driven on the left, but around 1925, Czechoslovakia accepted the Paris convention and promised to enforce right hand traffic "within a reasonable time frame". In 1931, the government signed the obligation to switch within 5 years (which did not happen). The main obstacles were financial cost and resistance in the countryside. In November 1938, parliament finally decided to change to right hand traffic with effect from May 1, 1939.

Protectorate Bohemia and Moravia

The occupation of the Protectorate Bohemia and Moravia by Germany on March 15, 1939, sped up the change. A few places switched the same day (e.g. Ostrava), the rest of the area of the Protectorate on March 17, and Prague got a few more days to implement the change and switched on March 26.

Tramway infrastructure in Prague had been modified since November 1938. In the final days there were daily reminders of the change in newspapers and large warnings were painted on the streets and on tramway cars. Only a small number of traffic accidents happened due to the switch (though one person in Prague died). Drivers adapted very quickly and have driven on the right hand side to this day.

WWII Slovakia

Right hand traffic had already been introduced in Slovakia by a decree of the government of "autonomous Slovakia" within Czechoslovakia in late 1938. Buses in the capital Bratislava were adapted in 1939, and the last roads in Slovakia switched to the new system in 1940/1941.

The area which is now Southern Slovakia belonged to Hungary then and so would not have changed until Hungary changed in 1941.

ee also

* Right- and left-hand traffic
* Dagen H

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