Ross: We need more positive role models on Washington’s roads

Feb 2, 2022, 6:15 AM | Updated: 9:18 am
Safe drivers...
Traffic in Seattle. (Photo courtesy of WSDOT)
(Photo courtesy of WSDOT)

A TV commercial got my attention last week – it was for USAA insurance.

It highlights safe drivers – there’s Mac, who’s billed at the “Baby Soft Braker” – he makes a point of coming to a soft stop with barely a bobble.

And then there’s the “Steadfast Signaler.”

“Lucia, who announces her intentions even if no one’s there,” the commercial proclaims.

Except the all-seeing camera of course.

Finally, there’s Sgt. Moore, the “Three-Car-Length Bufferer,” who goes above and beyond when it comes to keeping a safe following distance. There’s even a drone shot showing her staying triple the necessary car lengths from the car in front.

The spot promotes the USAA’s Safe Pilot app, which rewards careful drivers. But what made the commercial stand out to me was that it made safe driving look cool.

You see these tough-looking military people who are trained for combat, but who clearly believe that the road should not be a battlefield.

I think there should be more of these ads to balance out car commercials like a recent one from BMW, where a man in a certain driving machine catches up with a flying air tanker which lowers its hose just as the driver raises his coffee thermos through the sun roof. The tanker hose then tops off the thermos.

It doesn’t surprise me one bit that some drivers would sip from a thermos of jet fuel on the way to work.

But, hey, if you want to drive a car at 248 miles an hour on the salt flats – great. The trouble is I think some people see a commercial like that and they think, “well, not much traffic today on 405, let’s see what this baby can do.”

In 2020, Washington State Patrol responded to something like 35,000 collisions and wrote over 313,000 citations for speeding.

I just think if every commercial showing a car racing an airplane was balanced by a commercial showing guys like Mac, the Baby-Soft Braker, “who can come to a stop with barely a bobble,” we’d all be a lot safer.

Listen to Seattle’s Morning News with Dave Ross and Colleen O’Brien weekday mornings from 5 – 9 a.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Ross: We need more positive role models on Washington’s roads