Wednesday, 13 February 2008

An Irishman gets into a car...

Actually there's no punchline to that, but a senior Irish politician has suggested his country switch to driving on the right-hand side of the road, in a bid to reduce accidents by forgetful foreigners.

Tens of thousands of people have moved to Ireland over the past decade, as the country enjoys massive economic growth. Many of the new immigrants come from countries in Eastern Europe, where they are used to driving on the right hand side of the road.

Low cost air links has also helped Ireland become a popular tourist destination for visitors from Europe and the United States. But difficulty in adjusting to driving on the left has caused a number of accidents on Irish roads.

Senior Irish politician Donie Cassidy says while most of Europe switched to the right many decades ago, Sweden managed to change sides of the road (to the left) later than other countries with no major problems.

Here in New Zealand, a number of recent road accidents have been blamed on foreign tourists forgetting to drive on the left-hand side of the road. Most rental companies do inform tourists of New Zealand's road rules, and have reminder stickers inside vehicles.

While most of the world drives on the right, New Zealand has retained the left-hand driving rule along with many other former British colonies like India and Australia, but also Japan.

The habit apparently dates back to the Middle Ages, when people wanted to make sure any strangers passed on the right, making it easy to go for your sword if they proved unfriendly ;-)

And here's a few Irish car jokes, just in case you were disappointed not to find a punchline to this post's title...
* Did you hear about the Irishman who drove his car into a river to dip his headlights?


* Did you hear about the Irishman who locked his keys in the car?
- Took him eight hours to get his family out.


* A cop pulls him over."So," says the cop to the driver, Where have ya been?"

"Why, I've been to the pub of course," Slurs the drunk.

"Well," says the cop, "it looks like you've had quite a few to drink this evening."

"I did all right," the drunk says with a smile.

"Did you know," says the cop, standing straight and folding his arms across his chest, "that a few intersections back, your wife fell out of your car?"

"Oh, thank heavens," sighs the drunk. "For a minute there, I thought I'd gone deaf."

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