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Homepage. This page: A pocket-sized booklet issued by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), 1940s.

"Fancy Meeting You" - a booklet for drivers.

Published by RoSPA in 1947.

RoSPA published a number of motoring-related booklets in the 1930s and 1940s, all designed to aid the motorist in completing their driven journeys without incident. The following pocket-sized offering dates to the late 1940s. Its aim was to remind drivers of the various dangers that they might encounter while at the wheel of a car or other road vehicle, in the post-war years. The illustrations are by Fougasse, a well-known artist/illustrator/cartoonist of the day, coupled with contributions by McCullough - an ".. author and well-known question-master of the BBC Brains Trust". We're also told that ".. every motorist will have read (or, if not, ought to read) their delightful book "You Have Been Warned" and their pamphlet "Many Happy Returns", which accompanied driving licences before the war". This introduction suggests that the booklet featured here may have in-part been drawn up in response to swathes of pre-war motorists digging out their cars from long-term storage following the Second World War, many of whom might have been a little "rusty" when it came to the rules of the road in post-war Britain. It also set out to be an aide-memoir for newly-licensed drivers.
New drivers booklet
The booklet begins with the following passages ...
"You have just received your driving licence, and, needless to say, everyone hopes that you will have a very pleasant - and uneventful - year on the road."
"You, no doubt, are always careful and considerate - but are you always ready to protect yourself, and your family, against someone who isn't?"
"Here for instance are a few of your companions of the road. Need we remind you that any one of them may involve you and yours in a major tragedy, and that any one of them may suddenly meet you round the next blind corner."
Many illustrations by Fougasse then follow, accompanied by brief summaries of the potential hazards that awaited anyone who planned on heading out for a drive in their car. At the foot of each page is a doodle showing an ambulance, from which a speech-bubble emanating from its interior simply reads "Anyhow, I was in the right!".
Pages two and three are shown below. Attention is drawn to over-worried and over-tired types, who struggle with the demands of keeping their own car on the straight and narrow, without worrying unduly about what might be going on outside with others. Drivers in an immense hurry, and their risk-taking actions as a result, are also brought to the reader's attention.
Illustrations by Fougasse
Pedestrians and motorcyclists also feature within this booklet's compact pages, as does "... the emotional fellow who's under some very special stress of emotion; perhaps he's just got engaged, or just had one or two for the road, and feels as if he owned the earth - including, of course, the public highway ...".
Driving while stressed
Drivers of commercial vehicles don't escape the attentions of illustrator Fougasse either, as this page demonstrates ... "You'll also meet the optimist who just drives slap through everything - rain and ice and mist and narrow bridges - always trusting every other fellow to use enough caution for both of them ...". The page for Angry Driving also uses a cartoon of a lorry driver to illustrate a point.
Lorry drivers
Angry drivers
No book or other publication that concerns itself with road manners would be complete without at least one reference to cyclists, and this is no different. "Then there's the cyclist, singly or in flocks, always liable to shoot suddenly and silently out from nowhere ...".
Cyclists
On the final page, a number of statistics are given, including the fact that during the previous year - 1946 - a million people visited RoSPA exhibitions, and that over 140,000 professional drivers took part in the Safe Driving Competition annually. A safe-driving diploma issued to a driver in 1949 by RoSPA, features on this page here at Old Classic Car (OCC). A booklet titled "Turn to Better Driving" issued by the Society in 1954 can be found here.
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