The Art of Intelligent Driving DVD Review

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A different type of driver’s ed DVD

The Art of Intelligent Driving, according to the producers, “picks up where Driver’s Ed leaves off.” The instructor, Jonathan Kinberg, also claims to dispel the myths that are taught in typical driver’s ed classes. So, I was pretty intrigued to watch the DVD to learn all of things that are being taught to our nation’s youth that are simply “flat our WRONG”.

Myth-busting?

I actually watched the entire 93 minute production twice and was unable to find more than two potential myths that were dispelled. The first, which isn’t that groundbreaking today, is Mr. Kinberg’s use of the BGE mirror setting. I suspect that when this video was produced, the BGE setting was just being introduced.

Oddly, the back cover of the DVD indicates a copyright date of 2007. However, I can’t imagine this video was produced much later than the mid-to-late 1990’s. The host references rewinding the VCR tape, so clearly this is a program that was ported from video to DVD. Also, the cars shown in the video appear quite older than what you would find in 2007.

The second “busted” myth is that you shouldn’t pump your brakes. For those of us with ABS brakes, this is well-known. Of course, this video was probably produced in the mid 90’s when fewer cars were equipped with ABS. Back in those “dark ages”, common knowledge suggested a technique known as threshold braking. The video does a decent job of explaining why this is not a good idea. However, it’s pretty much a moot point due to advances in technology.

Too much discussion of manual transmissions

Furthermore, The Art of Intelligent Driving spends a lot of time talking about the “art” of using a manual transmission. While this may be interesting to some viewers, it’s useless to most new drivers who will never encounter a manual transmission. It’s pretty clear that Mr. Kinberg loves a manual transmission and I believe this bias fuels the extensive talks and explanations regarding proper downshifting during turns.

Focuses on the car’s response to your driving input

The Art of Intelligent Driving’s basic premise is to explain how your car responds to input from the driver. It focuses heavily on the following topics:

  • Proper positioning in the driver’s seat
  • Understanding vehicle dynamics during acceleration, braking, and turning
  • Learning how our tires work during normal and hazardous weather conditions

If you’re looking for a video that is going to teach driving rules or how to perform specific driving maneuvers such as a three-point turn or parallel parking, The Art of Intelligent Driving isn’t for you (nor does it pretend to be). However, if you’re looking for a slightly more advanced discussion of how your car actually “works” while driving, this video may be of interest to you.

Excellent host

It’s abundantly clear that Mr. Kinberg is extremely knowledgeable and is passionate about what he describes as “intelligent” driving. However, the low-quality graphics (including a typo in which “losing control” becomes “loosing control”) and the extensive discussions of manual transmission slightly undermine the message of the program.

Those issues aside, there is some fantastic information about vehicle balance and how your tires respond to changing control input (i.e. rate of speed change and rate of turn). I simply wish The Art of Intelligent Driving started with this information and made some of the discussion more concise (the first ten minutes of the program discuss proper seating adjustments — this could have been accomplished in about 2 minutes).

Furthermore, Mr. Kinberg waits until the end of the program to highlight some interesting driving situations that are not usually covered in driver’s ed programs. The discussion on how to make a left turn across heavy traffic when you do not have a protected turn is useful and interesting.

Bottom line

Overall, I found Mr. Kinberg to be a great host. I never felt that he was reading off a teleprompter. I felt that he was authoritative and genuinely interested in getting his message heard. I truly hope that the producers feel compelled to update their program. If you can look past the fact that the program was produced 10-15 years ago, you will learn some interesting facts.

I would recommend most driver’s ed instructors to watch this program as they will surely find ways to incorporate some of the information into their instruction.

Running time: 93 minutes

Trailer:

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Price: $19.95

Pros:

  • Covers interesting information about vehicle dynamics that you’re unlikely to find anywhere else

Cons:

  • Cars and clothes are out-dated
  • Manual transmission overkill
  • Lower quality production values than other DVDs we’ve watched

Bottom line: Supplemental information for the parent-as-teacher. Driver’s ed instructors should get a copy.

Available from:

The Art of Intelligent Driving

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