From dismembered teens to bludgeoned commuters, these public service announcements use shock, heartbreak, and gore to teach you that driving while drunk, tired or texting will result in you killing everyone you love. Strap on your desensitization goggles because these are what Jalopnik readers have chosen as the ten scariest driving PSAs.
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10.) Don is about to kill his wife
Suggested By: TheKlic
Why it's terrifying: And so we begin with one of many Australian driving PSAs and the harrowing line, "Don is about to kill his wife." The voice-over is a little heavy handed, but there's really nothing to dampen the effect of the upcoming blow.
9.) No Place to Race
Suggested By: Jack Trade
Why it's terrifying: Generally, the overbearing advice from government announcements makes their message go in one ear and straight out the other. Mick Doohan, the third winningest 500cc motorcycle rider of all time (with five consecutive championships), on the other hand, we will listen to.
The man risked amputation of his right leg after a crash back in 1992, so his sponsorship of this gore-less ad gives it some much needed weight.
8.) Red Asphalt III
Suggested By: westhill
Why it's terrifying: In spite of some cheesiness that comes with age, the Red Asphalt series remains shocking to this day. It's easy to forget the breathless commentary when you see the mangled bodies of very real automotive casualties.
Still, there is clearly something lacking in this video. We've all been subjected to Red Asphalt at some point in our driving lives and yet people persist in driving drunk and crashing their cars.
7.) French hospital erasure
Suggested By: kiethsquires
Why it's terrifying: Unlike many of the higher ranking PSAs on this list, this French spot leaves with a positive note. However uncomfortable you get when confronted with the brutality of a crash's human scarring, you are finally relieved to know that simple advice can save you from this fate. The rest of the PSAs on this list will not be so kind.
6.) Driving tired will kill you and your hot girlfriend
Suggested By: suju89
Why it's terrifying: Passive safety has come a long way since VW built the your-legs-are-the-crumple-zone Microbus. It's a good idea to be especially mindful when you're sitting at the dangerous end of a highway bound tin can, and this tired Australian's girlfriend is quick to remind him to be a better driver.
However, both parties have great judgment failures, with the driver choosing to drive Australia's vastness through the night and his ladyfriend choosing to sleep rather keep her driver alert, or better, convince him to pull over.
Even giving a pithy line of advice, which the French told us would be enough, is not enough to stop life-ending bad decisions, argue the Australians.
5.) James Dean's speeding premonitions
Suggested By: brandonsharp
Why it's terrifying: Let me first say that this is not a public service announcement, and it was never intended to be. James Dean filmed this short interview to promote Rebel Without a Cause, but its chilling line "The life you save might be mine," remains a standout warning against dangerous driving. Dean died in a car accident when a car pulled into his lane.
YouTube has turned this short unaired bit from Warner Bros. Presents into very much a PSA, with the specter of James Dean hanging over it.
4.) Look twice for motorcyclists
Suggested By: telumektar
Why it's terrifying: Here we are treated to a brutal, pauseless on-screen killing. It pulls no punches and its imagery sticks with you long after you're done watching the short spot.
3.) Driving drunk will kill you and your kid
Suggested By: suju89
Why it's terrifying: Australia's Transport Accident Commission has not only a big budget, but a keen imagination. This PSA teaches the lesson that when you're drunk driving perhaps the best thing that can happen to you is getting pulled over, and it does it far better than any overbearingly stern voice-over.
American departments in charge of driving PSAs could do well to follow the Australian example, much to the chagrin of American TV watchers.
2.) Speeding will tear lives to shreds
Suggested By: DMCTYLER
Why it's terrifying: Ireland has had a hard time with road safety, and the graphic nature of this PSA only speaks to some desperation on the part of regulators and government agencies. The imagery in this film edges on hyperbole, following the crash and the ensuing tragedies at breakneck speed.
1.) AT&T driving while texting documentary
Suggested By: telumektar
Why it's terrifying: Unlike some of the PSAs you've seen today, there are no actors in this film. Those are real tears. In a well shot, well composed short film, you get to stare right into those tragedies and see the side of automobility that brutally takes away lives and simply shatters others.
After watching all of these PSAs, the still-persistent death toll on the roads speaks to reader dynamho's assessment: "None are scary enough".