Not so much a road – more a way of life

Godfrey Holmes looks at how the coming of the M1 to Derbyshire, fifty years ago, changed our attitudes and behaviour

THAT first tranche of motorists – driving on the new M1 in an almost totally unregulated environment – acted as if there was no tomorrow. And for all too many, there was no tomorrow. Some drivers drove at up to 200mph – and 116mph was by no means uncommon for a powerful motorbike. Tyres split. Radiators overheated. At least one engine dropped out of its compartment altogether! Speed was virility; virility was speed…

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