Vintage 1938 Michigan State Highway Department Film has Outdated Advice that Everyone Needs to Hear Today
Before Michigan Department of Transportation, there was the State Highway Department. In this 1938 film, they have keen advice for drivers on Michigan roads.
“The increased use of the motorcar and the rapid development of its speed have brought new responsibilities to both the driver and the highway engineer," intones the narrator at the beginning of this 1938 film. “We hope that this film will give you a better understanding of what your state highway department has contributed, and what you, as drivers, can contribute to make Michigan roads safer roads.”
As transportation went from the oxcart to the prairie schooner to the horse and buggy then Henry Ford's horseless carriage, infrastructure has failed to keep up. The Michigan State Highway Department's innovative ideas include a "super divided highway" between Detroit and Pontiac with (ready for this?) 6 lanes! Gently straightening curves in the road, grade separation to reduce car/train traffic intersections along with "reflectorized" signs and signals are innovative measures the MDoT predecessor was using.
What makes this video timeless is the emphasis put on driver responsibility. It is stressed over and over again that the driver must remain in control of the vehicle and considerate of other motorists. Then, there's this obscure law from 1938: "Unless a driver is passing someone, his place is in the extreme right lane of traffic." Doesn't that blow your wig? It's just bananas.