The day NL started driving on the right side of the road

At one minute after midnight, all motorists, horse-drawn vehicles, cyclists, and pedestrians in Newfoundland were obligated by law to switch from the left to the right side of the road.

Ronald Marshall and his son, Gerry (Dee) Marshall, a teenager who had only recently received his license, left their house on Bully Street just before midnight to go to the top of Long’s Hill to witness the first cars driving right and the accidents which were surely to accompany them.

The fact was both bus service and taxi service stopped early on the night of January 1, anticipating chaos as passengers who normally step off at the curb now had to alight in the middle of the traffic.

An ad taken out by Golden Arrow Coaches warned: “The main doors of our buses will now be on the traffic side and passengers will have to embark and disembark in the street instead of at the curb. Signs are being placed at the back of buses reminding motorists of this fact.”

The Daily News reported: “… it was rather difficult to procure a taxi, one person having to be conveyed to a city hospital in a police van.”

by Susan Flanagan
You can read the full story about what happened on January 2, 1947 in The Newfoundland Quarterly’s print edition. On sale in Broken Books, Johnny Ruth, Chapters, The Travel Bug, Afterwords, and other retailers across the province. Newfoundland Quarterly: Spring 2017, Rules of the Road.

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