Would you rather drive in 1945?

Less congestion, classic cars and picturesque routes: surely we’d all prefer to drive during 1945? After using Maps Time Travel, a tool by the Co-operative Insurance, you might change your mind…

Driving in 1945

Comparing the duration, cost and distance of your favourite routes, the tool reveals just how different driving was back in the day, and how far modern motor travel has come. There may have been fewer than two million cars on Britain’s roads, compared to today’s 25.8 million, but it’s a small price to pay when you consider the more startling facts…

Petrol cost twice as much

With war raging and supply paths uncertain, petrol was rationed throughout WWII. In fact, by the time the war ended in 1945, it could cost you £65.63 to drive from the Co-operative Insurance’s Manchester headquarters to London. Nowadays, this journey costs just £27.25.

There were three times as many fatalities

In 2015, there were 1,732 road fatalities. While this is by no means a negligible number, it pales in comparison to statistics from 1945. That year, road fatalities numbered a whopping 5,256. Unsurprisingly, this could have been due to a few factors…


Driving in 1945

Britain’s car industry in 1945

Wearing a seatbelt wasn’t compulsory

Did you know that the law requiring car users to wear a seatbelt didn’t come into force until as recently as 1983? It’s little wonder there were so many road fatalities.


There were no speed limits

Aside from a 30mph speed limit enforced in built-up areas, there were no speed limits to abide by in 1945. In fact, the 70mph speed limit for motorways was only introduced during 1965, following a spate of serious accidents in foggy conditions.


Driving in 1945

Road transport during the dark days of the Blitz

Driving tests were suspended

From 1939 until 1946, the onslaught of WWII saw driving tests suspended, with examiners transferred to traffic duties and the supervision of petrol rationing. Unfortunately, this saw many of the drivers stuck in provisional-license limbo, taking to their vehicles regardless. Would you fancy being on the road with so many potentially unlicensed drivers?


There were no motorways

It’s hard to believe there were no motorways until 1958, when the M6 Preston bypass was completed. This meant that many of the journeys we take for granted today took twice as long to complete. Fancy a jolly from Manchester to Edinburgh? You’d have added 57 miles and four hours to your journey in 1945! Even travelling from Manchester to Leeds took one hour and 16 minutes longer.


Driving in 1945

The VE celebrations in Lomdon brought traffic to a standstill.

So, what do you think? Would you rather take a chance on the roads during 1945, or put up with a little modern congestion? Let us know using the comment box below!