How to be a Good Motorist

Edited by the Bodleian Library

How to be a Good Motorist

Edited by the Bodleian Library

Distributed for Bodleian Library, University of Oxford

96 pages | 9 halftones | 3 1/2 x 4 1/2 | © 2013
Cloth $11.00 ISBN: 9781851240807 Published November 2013 For sale in North America only
The 1920s were the age of the automobile, with the availability for the first time of relatively affordable cars and the rise of Ford Motor Company in America and Morris Motors in the UK. However, the laws governing driving were for the most part yet to be written and the rules of the road were rudimentary to say the least. With a growing number of motorists in need of guidelines, How to be a Good Motorist provided all the information one needed to enjoy—safely—the open road, offering advice on how to handle such hazards as skidding, headlight glare, and livestock on the road.

Among the practical and unusual guidelines offered are what precautions one should take when another car approaches and which parts of a car’s engine can be fixed in a pinch with emery paper, copper wire, and insulating tape. Some of the observations, like the cautionary note that, when driving, one ought to “look on all other drivers as fools” are sure to strike a chord with many motorists today. Others, like the suggestion that “a good chauffeur will save his employer a great deal of expense” evoke the style of a glamorous bygone era. The book covers such topics as unscrupulous secondhand car dealers, simple maintenance, women drivers, and “dashboard delights.” (Spoiler: For a well-equipped dashboard, don’t forget the speedometer.) For those planning a longer journey, the book also advises on how to choose the most pleasant picnic site when on the road.

How to be a Good Motorist
is the perfect gift for the new driver or anyone who longs for a simpler time before rush-hour traffic reports and roundabouts.


I.               Motoring

II.              Choosing a Motor-Car

III.             Points for the Owner-Driver

IV.             The Cost of Motoring

V.              Depreciation

VI.             Second-Hand Cars

VII.            The Woman Driver

VIII.           The Car Arrives

IX.              Know Your Car

X.               Learning to Drive

XI.              The Police

XII.             Skilled Driving Saves Wear and Tear

XIII.            Recognized Road Signals

XIV.            Prevention of Skidding

XV.             The Holiday Tour

XVI.            The Daily Programme

XVII.           The Route

XVIII.          Spares on Tour

XIX.             Picnicking

XX.              Dashboard Delights

XXI.             Some Parts of a Car Explained

XXII.            Road Troubles

XXIII.           Is Your Car Fit?

XXIV.          Oiling and Greasing

XXV.           Night Driving

XXVI.          Adventuring Abroad

XXVII.         Motor-Car Insurance

XXVIII.        Wireless and the Car

Review Quotes
New York Times
“As ever, the only way to learn to drive is by hitting the road—and hoping that’s all you hit. But that’s never stopped the learning-by-reading lobby from writing guides on driving. How to Be a Good Motorist, abridged from a British book written by Harold Pemberton in 1923, gamely confronts automotive woes like how to handle a skid, a flat tire, and livestock grazing in the road.”
For more information, or to order this book, please visit
Google preview here

Chicago Manual of Style

RSS Feed

RSS feed of the latest books from Bodleian Library, University of Oxford. RSS Feed