Many people have the luxury of simply hopping in the car and driving, without expectations of harassment or worse.

But not all.

“I think it’s really, really tough for the majority of Americans to begin to even understand the gut-wrenching horror that is driving in a racist society,” Christopher West, a historian, says in “Driving While Black: Race, Space and Mobility in America,” a new PBS documentary (Tuesday, 9 EDT/PDT, check local listings or stream on by Gretchen Soren and Ric Burns.

The film is a different kind of vehicle – one that allows for a closer examination of racism in America, on the roads and off. Informative, infuriating and almost shockingly of the moment even when addressing issues 400 years ago, it is two hours well spent.

The documentary is based on Soren’s book “Driving While Black: African American Travel and the Road to Civil Rights,” and she’s included in the film as an expert voice. (The vast majority of experts are people of color, a welcome change from many documentaries of this sort.)

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