If you are what you drive, as car enthusiasts are always fond of saying—usually while sneering at a Toyota Corolla—then, surely, you must also be how you drive.
Sportsmanlike Driving was published by the American Automobile Association across the 20th century. A driving manual for the rest of us, instead of overviewing what a stop sign looked like, it made the unique distinction of emphasizing the human component of driving. Sample passage: "The Motor Age Citizen must accept the moral responsibility of properly using the power machines he has devised."
It doesn't just hold true today: It's probably even more relevant.
The guide covered basic material like the perils of impaired driving (pictured above). But it also split average American motorists into five categories. There's the Egoist, whose world revolves around him and him alone, and as such fails to use turn signals, cuts people off, double parks, and even more nefarious behavior: "boasting of breaking traffic laws" and "using influence and 'pull' for ticket fixing."
There's the Over-Emotional, the "adult-sized babies" who lose their temper, drive recklessly, act impulsively, and blow their horn while they're blowing their lid. They are even "easily distracted from the main business of driving." A small subset in the 1950s that has since expanded to include possibly every human being on Earth.
And there's the Thwarted, which begins damningly: "There is a strong desire in man to be masterful, to achieve something, to assert himself and display his power. If circumstances prevent him from showing mastery in one situation, he tries to show it in another. A familiar example is the man who does not amount to much at the office or shop and so tries to lord it over everybody at home."
This is Freud behind the wheel. Brace yourselves for a full-on psychological evaluation and , whether you are macho or not. And if you are subsequently inspired, , complete with a sunny, optimistic cover: an entire world ringed by cars! Oh, how true that is. And with those cars, their fallible operators.
Cars may have changed since the 1930s, but human behavior is still as rotten and self-centered as ever. Only with the abundance of self-driving cars will this guide finally cease to serve as a glimpse into human nature, and we'd be sure there wouldn't be a way to program a Google car to cut people off. Think about it: You always figured that you were surrounded by these people. Now, that paranoia is entirely justified. Drive safe!