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    by: Dan Roth, AOL Autos
     

    Video is a powerful medium. It has the ability to visually convey difficult concepts, sometimes rendering words secondary. Then there are those moments where a video truly leaves you truly speechless.

    And, sometimes, that's the point. Automotive safety is one area where many people feel like the cars we drive are so technologically advanced and safe that they'll always be able to walk away without a care in the world.

    But, there's still a need for a strong reminder, especially in an era when drivers are trying to do so much more in their vehicles, from using their smartphones to accessing the internet through their dashboards.

    Here are our five favorite videos that get our gears turning.

    Note: some of these videos aren't for the faint of heart, but when it comes to fully appreciating the consequences of your actions behind the wheel, we feel they're right on target.

    5: "Embrace Life" Sussex Safer Roads

    The most recent safety-themed video we've seen is this illustrative reminder to buckle up from Sussex County in England. The metaphor of a man's family holding on to him because he fastened his safety belt behind the wheel is a simple, beautiful way of saying a lot without uttering a single word. Right there in the spot you see a spouse and child; all the reason in the world to click the buckle into the latch.

    4: "Driving while texting" from Gwent, UK public safety campaign

    Apropos of the times, this not-so-subtle admonition to avoid texting comes from the United Kingdom. It certainly makes its point in a crystalline manner: If your luck with texting and driving has been good so far, there will be a time it will eventually run out and the results may be far from pleasant. The images used in this video are, of course, intended to shock viewers to attention -- a common theme in our group of videos. It's far more effective than boring them to sleep with dull expositions (especially when you consider that the target audience for this message is 16-25). Here it is, laid bare: TXT = grave danger.

    3. "Like" by Volkswagen

    Automakers have largely steered clear of the "shock safety" genre (Volvo's casual, breezy videos of their boxy cars crashing into test barriers and off cliffs suggested that even if the events were planned, their cars and drivers would survive). But Volkswagen took a different tact a few years back when their new ad agency took a hard look at safety. In a series of campaigns that highlighted the brand's crash ratings, viewers rode along inside a car for a typical, "show about nothing" conversation that purposely loosened the viewer up and made them comfortable. And then...BAM! The ads ended with a clever play on words: Safe Happens.

    2. "Shake Hands With Danger" by the Caterpillar Tractor Company

    A period masterpiece. This multipart set of films debuted in 1980 with a theme song comprised of both kinds of music: Country and Western. The narrator sounds like Harry Morgan after chain-smoking unfiltered Camels, and the beat-up release print is the cherry atop the sundae. The Caterpillar Tractor Company produced the videos.

    These are the films we all snickered through, chuckling at the Marlboro Man imagery while ignoring the actual good advice contained therein. It's worth your time to watch all 4 sections.

    1. Australia Transport Accident Commission compilation

    Australia's Transport Accident Commission has been creating advertising to shock viewers out of any apathy about drunk driving for the last twenty years. Just before Christmas last year, this three-minute compilation of that body of work was aired; then it hit the internet.

    The imagery here will stop you cold. It took two tries to get us through this set of clips; you'll be forgiven if you need to wipe a tear and kiss your children. The whole point is to grab the viewer's attention and pull on their emotions. This video is a masterwork that turns the viewer into a sponge, ready to absorb the anti-drunk-driving message completely.

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    1 - 20 of 67 Comments
    nrthchrlt1 Apr 04, 2010 7:22 PM
    Considering that America focuses all the efforts on the final line of defense in any accident, it doesn't matter which gender is safer. They both are under educated in driving any vehicle. The best defense in accidents is not being in one. Now if we can put all that wasted effort into defensive driving courses to all of our driviers, we will be saving a heck more lives that just "buckling up."
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    blackice55 Feb 23, 2010 3:07 PM
    u people wouldn't have so many wreacks if u didn't drive on the wrong side of the road!!!
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    babyhawk22 Feb 23, 2010 3:02 PM
    No one who drinks (and plans on driving) ever says "hey, I think I've had too much to drink and just might kill someone on my way home from here." Keep your eyes on your friends and don't give them so much credit for being able to drive. Stand up to them! There's always another way to get home.
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    esied Feb 23, 2010 2:04 PM
    What a LOT of people fail to understand is that a 2,000lb car doing even as slow as 25 mph is a lethal weapon. 25 Mph may not sound like much but when you take 2,000 lbs and stop it immediatly that force has to go somewhere and usually it goes through the occupants of the veh. Driving while drunk OR distarcted is a totally preventable thing, man/women up and if you are drinking take a cab or catch a ride from someone SOBER. Texting and driving is just insane, why not just take out a book and read it while going down the interstate at 60Mph. I just simply fail to understand why ANYONE would do such a thing, what the hell are you thinking when you do this? ALL of this is avoidable!
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    bracca1968 Feb 23, 2010 1:40 PM
    Sadly videos like that will never air on American tv because we live in a land of wusses and crybabies. The law is still way too lenient. Anyone who drinks and drives should never be allowed behind the wheel ever again. Anyone who drinks and drives are complete and total scum. I was a very healthy and strong man until November 26, 2000 when a drunk hit me at 60mph. 9 months of physical therapy barely helped. If it weren't for the very strong pain killers I take every day I would kill myself. The pain is massive. To anyone out there that reads this that has driven while intoxicated you are lower than scum. If any of you from today on ever drink and drive I hope someone pulls you over and kicks your face in.
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    rolandcarlboyce Feb 23, 2010 1:38 PM
    You know, we have all kinds of laws on the books to "Qualify or Dis-Qualify" a person from owning guns of any type to make sure that only people without a criminal record or a mental disability get to won them. Yet we have "No Laws" on the books to keep people who are alcoholics or drinkers of alcoholic beverages from owning a vehicle of any type. This is why we're much safer from people that can't own guns and those that do then we are from alcoholics or people who drink alcoholic beverages that own vehicles. There are "No Laws On The Books" that prevent people from going out and getting drunk and then getting in their vehicle to drive! This is actually legalizing people to get drunk and then get into their vehcle to drive and 9 times out of ten killing someone. It's making it legal to let a killer get behind the wheel to drive after they have gotten drunk. Now people are out there saying oh boy we got a goody two shoes making a comment. No you don't. I quit drinking 32 years ago. You know why? Because I'm an Alcoholic. That's right, even though you stop drinking, once you're an alcoholic you are always an alcoholic. You cannot take that first drink once you quit because if you do you're right back to getting drunk again. And yes I drove. Did i ever have an accident? No. I don't know how or why I never did because there were times I had to drive because I couldn't stand up to walk! As a matter of fact there were times I'd wake up and not know where I was or where I had been the night before. And if my car wasn't in the driveway I didn't know where it was until someone told me if they had brought me home! Did i ever get stopped by the police? Yes. WHat happened? Nothing because I could walk a straight line and do the tests they asked for. So I only got a ticket for what i was doing, speeding. Yeah. over 100 MPH while drunk. I had to be one of the luckiest people in the world to never have an accident, never get arrested, and never killed anyone. I feel if and when you walk into a bar or any place that is serving alcohol, you should have to surrender your keys and automatically you were on the list for a cab ride home. If you get drunk at home, there should be a breathalizer on vehicles that won't let them start when you go over a certain limit. If you're at a friends house they are responsible for getting you a cab or they get arrested to for letting you drive if you get around the breathalizer in your vehicle. If you're going to drink don't drive. That's the bottom line.
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    neoclassicgirl Feb 23, 2010 1:17 PM
    Ads like these should be a requirement to add to drivers education before anyone gets a license, whether you're 16 or 60. Distracted driving, sleepy driving, or taking drugs of any kind which causes you to lose focus of what you're doing or the ability to do it is the number one cause of death to young, healthy people. Think about it; how many otherwise healthy people have you personally known who have died, and how have they died? Probably in a traffic accident for most. People don't take driving as seriously as they should.
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    markslightson Feb 23, 2010 1:11 PM
    the safety videos are so true people in the US should understand while australia had a low amount of deaths according to the video ,the US has around 40,000 traffic deaths a year yes 40,000 deaths no injured included !!! so if you want to think about an daily figure 1095 people may not come home to their families ,and by the way some of you think IT MAY BE YOU SOON!!! .think of car crashes as terrrorism it can destroy someones family and costs our ecomomy hundreds of millions each year .to me a much needed increase in safety of the roads are needed more than the scanners at the airports .they could crash 3 jumbo jets a day and not kill as many as what driving down the road does YES THE TRUTH HURTS . DONT GET ME STARTED ON GLOBAL WARMING !!!!
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    magnoliamomma561 Feb 23, 2010 12:37 PM
    What about the PSA that shows what happens when you text and drive. I saw this video on youtube, and it was an awful, yet to the point video. Amercan t.v. won't show the entire video, they cut it off just before the impact and the aftermath...sad. If people SAW what happens when they don't pay attention to the road, maybe less people would have to die because of it. I say show them in schools and universities everywhere.
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    du00000020844912 Feb 23, 2010 12:12 PM
    Americans will watch slasher movies or action films where blood and guts are everywhere, but we are too weak and politically correct to do the brave thing and show the real devistation of unsafe driving habits, though we all know they have spun out of control in the past 5 years with the insane need to mulitask while your behind the wheel of a 2 ton battering ram. But when unsafe behaviors do occur then people start screaming for action and government intervention instead of taking responsibility and doing the adult thing, avoiding driving distractions cells texts and even reading while driving just pay attention and drive. The previous ads do hit home and we would be best served to take a cue from the europeans, they are so refreshingly less puritanical than americans.
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    cheaperbird5 Feb 23, 2010 12:08 PM
    ya lets all watch morality movies so we can live longer to pay more bills and taxes...buckling up should not be forced upon people and also, the current BAC LAWS from MADD are based on incorrect facts handed down from the (NHTSA)-NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ASSOCIATION..!..these figures have been summarised by the (GAO) to be innacurate and non-effective..the people from MADD are ruining the lives of decent people all across the nation,they are no longer interested in safe driving,their new agenda is to;create a new prohibition against alcohol use in america..and now they are doing it with tax dollars..tell your friends to fight them..!..so we can get back to safer driving for all..!..they do not show how many people died because they were buckled up..!
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    dancingtbear Feb 23, 2010 11:44 AM
    I work for a railroad company and know the dangers out there in the real world. I know that one's actions (or lack of actions) can be devasting. When you leave home, your loved ones are expecting you to return to them at the end of the day the same way you left. Perhaps people need to be a little less selfish and think of those who are affected by your actions. Wonderful PSA's!!!
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    jeyky Feb 23, 2010 11:44 AM
    Brilliant. How wonderful if we'd all heed the advice.
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    raydll7 Feb 23, 2010 11:40 AM
    As a retired Fire Fighter Paramedic, I have see everything in these clips way to many times. Drinking, Durgs, Phones and cars do not mix. MVA happen to the best of drivers, we do not need to push the limits by drinking, doing drugs, making phone calls or texting. Life is not that fast we can not take a few minutes to enjoy it and let others enjoy their life not taking it from them.
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    geeitsiggy Feb 23, 2010 11:19 AM
    "Those who sacrifice freedom for safety, deserve neither." Pressuring people to act a certain way through advertisement is morally wrong. Even if the ads are getting at a good idea, if you are able to force people to think a certain way, you have a potential abuse of power. If you don't have the sense to drive without texting or without being under the influence, maybe you shouldn't be driving in the first place. You don't need an ad to tell you that.
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    retvantq Feb 23, 2010 11:17 AM
    What we need is COMMON SENSE. I dont see any relationship to automobile deaths and war deaths.
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    brandyme789 Feb 23, 2010 10:52 AM
    Take the Ophra Winfrey NO PHONE PLEDGE! My phone goes in the trunk or back seat 2 b sure I do not answer it! No phone call or TEXT is worth my life... or worth the grief Family and friends r put thru. If my phone rings, I find a place to pull over and PARK and see who it was. Doesn't take long to get the habit. I have asked all my family and friends to NOT USE THE CELL while driveing!
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    sxtminman Feb 23, 2010 10:24 AM
    What they need to do is to remove a phones ability to text. What might have started out as a good idea/convenience has become a very real safety hazard from yo-yos who text while driving. You want to speak with someone, call them, and if driving, use a blue tooth. Isn't a phone designed for CONVERSATION??? Talking is easier, faster, cheaper, and night and day SAFER!
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    peggyfrz Feb 23, 2010 9:30 AM
    I agree. We need to stop being such wusses here in America and start having PSAs just like that. And forget about those whole feel the need to be politically correct all the time. What would they do or say if was one their family members or lived ones who were injured or killed?
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    girldevl Feb 23, 2010 9:20 AM
    These types of ads need to be shown here in the US. Period. Screw being politically correct. Screw being afraid of offending someone. These are EXACTLY the type of ads that need to be shown here.
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    There are those moments where a video truly leaves you truly speechless. Here are our five favorite car safety videos that get our gears turning.
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