Monday 22nd January 1940
Car headlamps that had reduced intensity and directed the light towards the ground were introduced along with a 20-mph speed limit in built-up areas in Britain. Huge numbers of pedestrians were knocked down and killed as a result of these wartime blackout measures. White paint was the main safety measure, and stripes were painted on kerbs, street refuges and round the doors of tube trains. Even with a 20mph speed limit, car crashes were frequent. A Lancastrian man painted his car white, and found other motorists gave him a wide berth. An Essex farmer even painted white stripes on his cattle so that they wouldn’t be run over. Ghostly policemen controlled traffic with whistles, their capes and tunics dipped in luminous paint, and traffic lights were reduced to tiny crosses of red, amber and green. Sales of walking sticks, torches and batteries rocketed, as collisions even between pedestrians were common.