In 1921 there were scarcely any motor vehicles on the roads. Nobody was required to pass a driving test and there may have been little concern for road safety. Nevertheless, there was a recognition that drivers should take care.
The Hampshire Telegraph reported on 2 September 1921, under the heading of LADY’S DANGEROUS MOTORING AT TITCHFIELD, a hearing by magistrates about an accident at the bottom of Southampton Hill.
Priscilla Gertrude Ratsey, of Langton House, Alverstoke, was summoned for driving a motor-car in a manner dangerous to the public at Titchfield on August 13th. She was also charged for failing to produce her driving license. The other person involved in the accident was Mr. Frederick Molyneux Hughes, a commercial traveller from Winchester. He was riding a motor-cycle with a side-car. Just as he was turning round the corner up the hill, using a low gear at a speed of about four miles an hour, he saw a two-seater car coming towards him at about 20 miles an hour.
She hit the side car and dragged along for some distance. There was actually a passenger in the side car and both her legs were injured. The accident was witnessed by Ernest Watts, a resident of Southampton Hill and he corroborated the evidence of the motor cyclist and his passenger.
The defendant, who was represented by counsel, pleaded not guilty, and from the evidence of bystanders and the police constable called to the scene denied any wrongdoing and was quite irritated at being questioned by the local plod. She felt she was being unreasonably delayed from getting home for tea!
The magistrates found her guilty as charged and fined her £5 and assessed costs at £1 15s.
What is striking to us today about this incident was that nobody showed any concern for the injured passenger.