Mark Byrnes is a senior associate editor at CityLab who writes about design and architecture.
The absurdity of our reckless driving is called out in Gentleman Jekyll and Driver Hyde.
In the brief and unpleasant history of humans driving cars, only the insults we hurl at each other have changed.
As seen in Gentleman Jekyll and Driver Hyde, a 1950 short by the National Film Board of Canada, a polite and courteous man on foot turns—like too many of us—into a demon behind the wheel.
On the unnamed man’s drive home, phrases like “you old Betty!” and “go fry your fish!” are thrown around as he strikes fear into those who are neither as fast nor as furious as he is. All for shaving three minutes off a commute.
He’s not the only one, of course. As the concerned truck driver in the film notes, everyone would have a safety badge like his “if guys driving cars would be as polite as they are standing on their feet.”
So slow down, pinhead!