There’s no denying the love affair we in the US have with our cars. Our connection with cars goes beyond their practical use as a way to get around. People across the country develop emotional connections with their cars. When people say “I love my car,” they often mean it. For many, the cars we drive have become extended members of the family. But it wasn’t always this way.
Here in America, We Love Our Cars
When the automobile first came to the U.S., first impressions weren’t all that positive. These machines were noisier than horses. And they moved really fast, making it hard to cross the street freely. In fact, some cities in the US considered a ban on automobiles as drivers sped through busy streets at full speed, causing many fatalities. Members of the auto industry decided they needed to change how Americans viewed their new machines, and took out newspaper articles switching the blame from automobiles to pedestrians. It worked, and our love for cars was born.
Since then, the car has become a central part of our culture, earning a place of honor in garages or driveways around the country. Cars have become more than a way to get to a destination for most people. We’ve developed emotional connections like we did with the horses that pulled carts in days past. Cars have taken on a personality all their own, from hard-working trucks slogging through mud, to unfashionably functional mini-vans, to the old jalopy restoration project in somebody’s garage. Americans have become defined by their cars. We care for them with the same passion and concern as a dear pet, often keeping our cars on the road a long time after they should have been retired.
What Sets You Apart
Cars have become a physical extension of our personalities. We use them as a way to express ourselves. Our desire to personalize our cars has spurred the growth of a massive $360 billion after-market accessories industry. There are countless ways to make our cars as unique as we are, to fit to our individual preferences. Taste has become a key factor when we shop for a car. Exterior and interior colors, ride comfort options, and even the dashboard layout are almost as important as performance or fuel economy. Our individuality shines through in how we configure and customize our cars.
Get In My Car and Let’s Go For a Ride
Americans spend a lot of time in their cars. Drivers spent an impressive 293 hours behind the wheel every year on average, which works out to just over 12 days each year driving. But cars are more than just a way to get to a destination. Since the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956 came into effect, highways and interstates have made travel by car fast and efficient. For many, the trip is as important as the destination. Families make memories together on trips to the beach, cottage or national park. Friendships are forged and relationships are strengthened on the road. For many, a trip alone just isn’t the same as a trip with friends or family. Driving and cars, have become as much a way of socializing as going to the movies or out for dinner.
It’s More Than Just Transportation
Cars provide much more than convenient travel. They provide us with shelter from outside and a comfortable place to sit while traveling distances. We can begin to feel at home in our cars. Other forms of transportation, like motorbikes or scooters, don’t offer the same feeling. They don’t have the same protection from elements, or the same capacity to transport cargo. Cars have begun to define us like the clothes we wear, the music we listen to or the coffee we drink. A car gives us the freedom to explore, to connect and to unwind.