Having logged about 80,000 road miles in the UK since 1974, I’ve noticed this and other changes that turned driving from a joy to drudgery. Of course a lot has to do with the huge growth of cars on cramped roads, and maybe modern depredations of the State is a result rather than a cause. Headed into Dorchester one Saturday morning, I had to resort to an Ordnance Survey map to get in using one-track roads—all the arteries were packed and stuck.
When I first visited in 1974, I drove a hot Triumph Dolomite Sprint from the British Leyland press pool, 800 miles from Cotswold storybook land to the Lake District and Scotland. On the way back I drove Carlisle to London, 300 miles, in four hours. The same limits existed, but fast cars went up to 90 on the motorways, lane discipline was superb, and if you looked like you knew what you were doing you were usually left alone. If not and they got you for DWI, the roof fell in, and rightly so.
The only roads you can still have fun on over there are one-lane country tracks with “lay-bys” for passing, where, when an oncoming car approaches, you only argue about who has the hono(u)r of reversing. Hard Knott and Wrynose Passes in the Lake District are still wonders, though you need to be wary of sheep: here’s a video from a motorcycle. In flatter terrain where you can see ahead, you can go like clappers. No cameras. (I think!)
Addendum: click here for a slightly clearer video, but who will watch this for 20 minutes? That poor bloke had to follow a red van. I was nose-t0-tail with an MGBGT driven “with assurance,” and it was well that only sheep were coming the other way.