This film is part of Free

It Happened Today

Road accidents were a serious problem after the war, but this police road safety film, with its impressive stunts, is unwittingly worthy of an early Mack Sennett comedy.

School programme and Educational film 1947 21 mins

From the collection of:

Logo for Yorkshire Film Archive


From feckless mothers pushing their prams across roads without looking, to a Dick Dastardly character in his sports car, we see the dangers of road accidents brought to life by the West Riding Constabulary just after the war in 1947, when drivers still used hand signals. The perilous looking stunts are given an extra twist by the unintentionally comic voiceover of actor Patrick Holt: “There will be a husband home for tea after all, but only just!”

With the post-war increase in traffic, and traffic accidents, there was a clear need for campaigns for road safety. These went back to the end of WWI, with the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents being formed later in 1941 – the year which still holds the record for the highest numbers of deaths on the roads (thanks to the blackouts). In the decades after the end of the war West Riding Constabulary seemed to vie with Humberside Police as to who could make a road safety film with the most impact, and this one is clearly in the running.