Friday, May 24, 2019

Road Manners (1964)

Another Bank Holiday weekend looms before us, which means that a lot of people are going to be out on the roads, with all the resultant traffic congestion, frayed tempers and displays of bad driving which inevitably follow.  Which makes the newsreel snippet above very apt.  We all like to think that driving standards have grown worse over the years, but this film underlines the fact that, even more than fifty years ago, poor driving was a problem.  All of the behaviours shown in it are still in evidence on today's roads.  The only difference is that there are even more cars on modern roads and, consequently, even more bad drivers.

It's not that I consider myself to be a great driver. At best, I'm a competent driver.  But at least I haven't gone out of my way to forget everything I had to learn in order to pass my driving test, which is exactly what too many other drivers seem to do.  But it isn't just driving competence, or lack thereof, and a disregard for the rules of the road which seem to have gone out of the window, but also common courtesy.  There has been a definite increase in the number of drivers who fail to acknowledge you if you pull into a passing place on a narrow road to let them proceed, or give way to them at turnings and unmarked junctions.  I always try to acknowledge other drivers who give way for me - yet too many of te buggers just drive past me, eyes fixed ahead, stony faced, as they speed past me when I've given way to them.  I generally shout 'arsehole', or 'go fuck yourself' at them these days, I've grown so tired at their rudeness.

But back to the film.  What's striking is how empty the London streets look compared to more recent times.  Then there the cars.  Ah, the cars.  If I'm not much mistaken, the car driven by the main protagonist is an Vanden Plas Princess, the top of the line version of BMC's 1100/1300 family - the car he cuts up in the parking space sequence is a standard version of the model.  Various other BMC designs, including Minis, an MG, Oxford/Cambridges and a Triumph Vitesse are also on display, along with Vauxhall Crestas, Thames vans and sundry other cars common on sixties roads.  Many of these vehicles were still around when I was growing up in the seventies, but beginning to be supplanted by newer models like the Escort and Cortina from Ford, the Viva and Victor from Vauxhall and British Leyland (the successor to BMC) designs like the Allegro and Marina.  Anyway, in view of the sort of driving shown in this newsreel, I'll be staying off the roads as much as I can this Bank Holiday weekend.



Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home