A Blagger's Guide To... The Highway Code

A tome to keep you on the straight and narrow

The Highway Code was introduced in 1931 as a guide "to all courteous people", and became part of the driving test in 1934. It was first published in an effort to reduce the 7,000 annual fatalities on Britain's roads – this was despite there being only 2.3 million vehicles. Now, there are 34 million vehicles, and closer to 2,000 deaths each year.

As if to mark the, err, 81st anniversary of one of the best-selling, least-cherished books of all time, two books have just been published in homage. The Demon Road by Richard Gray (Matador, £8.99), is described as "a theory test novel", which hopes to use subliminal learning to help drivers pass their tests. Every question on the theory test is subtly woven into the plot – for instance, on page 57, Lips chides Patience: "Returning to lane one a mile ahead of the slip road was absolutely the right thing to do, especially in this weather." It's a tense scene, and we feel Patience's pain as she later becomes stuck behind a ginormous lorry. Grey claims that readers will be able to answer 90 per cent of the theory test questions correctly, the first time of trying. The Gentleman's Guide to Motoring is by Viv Darkwood, (AA Publishing £9.99). Billed as "a radical redrafting of The Highway Code", it aims to put the romance back into motoring, with chapters on "Etiquette and Roadmanship", "Accessories and Improvements", and "Recreational Driving". The information on "Cutting a dash" is particularly charming, but what of motoring advice for the modern lady?

In the 1931 edition of The Highway Code, numbering 18 pages of advice, 10 pages of adverts, and costing one old penny, mirrors were not mentioned and drivers were advised to sound their horns when overtaking. It advised drivers of horse drawn vehicles to "rotate the whip above the head; then incline the whip to the right or left to show the direction in which the turn is to be made." In the modern edition, advice on how to cross the road fills a whole chapter, compared to only a paragraph in the original. The Highway Code was last updated in 2007, with information about smoking while driving (don't) and advice for newly-qualified drivers. It costs £2.50, and is also available as an iPhone app, a Kindle ebook, and online at www.direct.gov.uk. It's is also on Facebook and Twitter.

The Green Cross Code for pedestrians first appeared in the 1978 edition, and led to starring roles in public information films for David Prowse (a former Mr Universe) and John Pertwee (a former Doctor Who).

For £7.49, The Stationery Office offers a "Highway Code Pack" comprising one copy of today's Highway Code, and a replica of the original, brown paper-covered edition from 1931.

...

Also by the authors Department of Transport and Driving Standards Agency, and published by The Stationery Office: The Official Highway Code Interactive CD ROM; The Official Highway Code With British Sign Language; and the thrills and spills bestseller (you'll laugh, you'll cry) Know Your Traffic Signs.

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Chvrches lead singer Lauren Mayberry in the band's new video 'Leave a Trace'

music
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Home on the raunch: George Bisset (Aneurin Barnard), Lady Seymour Worsley (Natalie Dormer) and Richard Worsley (Shaun Evans)

TV review
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Strictly Come Dancing was watched by 6.9m viewers

Strictly
Arts and Entertainment
NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton

film
Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dormer as Margaery Tyrell and Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones
Arts and Entertainment
New book 'The Rabbit Who Wants To Fall Asleep' by Carl-Johan Forssen Ehrlin

books
Arts and Entertainment
Calvi is not afraid of exploring the deep stuff: loneliness, anxiety, identity, reinvention
music
Arts and Entertainment
Edinburgh solo performers Neil James and Jessica Sherr
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
If a deal to buy tBeats, founded by hip-hop star Dr Dre (pictured) and music producer Jimmy Iovine went through, it would be Apple’s biggest ever acquisition

album review
Arts and Entertainment
Paloma Faith is joining The Voice as a new coach

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Dowton Abbey has been pulling in 'telly tourists', who are visiting Highclere House in Berkshire

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Patriot games: Vic Reeves featured in ‘Very British Problems’
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
film review
Arts and Entertainment
Summer nights: ‘Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp’
TVBut what do we Brits really know about them?
Arts and Entertainment
Dr Michael Mosley is a game presenter

TV review
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

    Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
    House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

    The honours that shame Britain

    Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
    When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

    'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

    Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
    International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

    International Tap Festival comes to the UK

    Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
    War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
    Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

    'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

    Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
    Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

    BBC heads to the Californian coast

    The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
    Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

    Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

    Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
    Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

    Car hacking scandal

    Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
    10 best placemats

    Take your seat: 10 best placemats

    Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
    Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

    Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

    Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
    Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

    Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

    Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
    Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

    Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

    The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
    Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

    Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

    His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
    Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

    Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

    Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future