People obviously need a refresher.
Back in 1959, Ford teamed up with the National Commission On Safety Education to produce an instructional film about driving safely through a city. That might sound quaint today considering most of us think we know how to drive perfectly fine, and in many ways the video is quite quaint. However, it’s apparent plenty of modern drivers need to watch this film and heed its instruction.
See how the Swedes have appropriated American street racing culture here.
While you should watch the video for yourself, here are some golden nuggets of knowledge you hopefully already know but might need a reminder about (but some people might never have known):
Speed limits aren’t a right to drive at the limit no matter what. It’s amazing how many people become irate if anything prevents them from driving at or beyond the posted limit on a road. As the film rightly points out, adverse weather or traffic conditions might necessitate driving more slowly. Considering we’ve seen horrific accidents from people trying to go the speed limit during a dangerous storm, we sometimes wonder how common sense truly is.
Also addressed is allowing for “a safe space cushion” between you and the car you’re following. Tailgating has become such a common way for drivers to express frustration and bully others on the road these days, it’s sad really. And it can lead to unnecessary, expensive accidents. The calm driving on display with these now-classic cars seems so very pleasant in comparison to the traffic on many roads today.
One of the most profound and much-needed lessons for today’s drivers is addressed in a discussion about right of way. As the instructor says, “drivers with the best safety records are the ones who have ‘yield right of way’ signs built into their head.” In other words, if you don’t want to constantly risk getting into accidents, stop assuming everyone is going to yield to you, even when technically you have right of way. Of course, this requires courtesy, calmness, and rationality – all traits we see displayed on modern roads less and less.
Of course, the film doesn’t address the topic of driver’s being distracted by their smartphone, in-vehicle touchscreen, or other devices. It’s not like there weren’t things to distract drivers back then. After all, the radio or a passenger could become a distraction. We even heard of a guy getting pulled over back in the day for speeding because he was too busy reading a record album cover. But with how addictive and demanding modern devices are, especially with the sounds they make, it seems driver distraction is worse than ever.
What’s also amazing about this video is how it shows the Phoenix metropolitan area back in 1959. With air conditioning in its infancy, not a lot of people wanted to live in the summer heat bubble that descends on the desert valley. As a result, the city is a mere shadow of the sprawling, bustling metropolis it is today.