Let’s All Watch This Unintentionally Hilarious Defensive Driving Movie From 1964

Welcome (back) to Sunday Matinee, where we highlight classic car reviews or other longer videos we find on YouTube. Kick back and enjoy this blast from the past.

Roads can be dangerous, yet we all love our cars and every chance we get to drive them. And it’s not just all of those darn kids and their cell phones posing a threat to safety—people back in 1964 drove while distracted as well, and it led to the creation of the above video (which is full of those cheesy sound effects we know and love).

The video teaches the “ABCs of defensive driving” and cautions about things outside of the car, like arguments and criticism, leading to accidents. For this particular driver, “the accident actually began to happen while the car was still parked at home” since he was already upset about a disagreement (that, naturally, played out in a cheesy manner). Huh. That’s a good point.

Perhaps the most interesting part of the instructional video is the driving “experiment” done in Chicago and a nearby city with approval from the police departments, and it’s almost like one of those practical psychology experiments that would be completely unethical these days. Both drivers traveled the same route and left together, with one instructed to observe all traffic laws and the other told to drive like (a maniac) he was late to a meeting.


The folks running the experiment even alerted police officers in the area to not stop the “jackrabbit” driver, who ended up with 138 traffic violations recorded by his observer. In the end, the safe counterpart lost only five minutes and 20 seconds in an hour-long trip by obeying the laws.

If anything, watching this is a pretty fun trip back in time—with a lesson that’s still applicable today. Don’t let your accidents start on the road or off of the road, folks.

Contact the author at alanis.king@jalopnik.com.

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Steve Ransom

The ABCs didn’t include seatbelts and I like the comparison of the married couple fighting, alluding to a cock fight! Was this the time period the politicians are talking about ‘making America great again’? It looks fucking scary.