Let’s be honest, a lot more goes on in our cars than simply driving, and not all of it is good or productive. Vehicles today are used for everything from sneaking a smoke, to sending nasty texts to people we hate, and the reality is that many of us develop some pretty bad habits in our cars. In fact, we often do things in our cars that we would literally never do anywhere else. This is partly because we feel sheltered and protected in our vehicles, and partly because we’re usually on the move and assume we’ll never see the people we pass on the roads and highways again. But whatever the reasons, these are some the worst habits people can develop while driving around in their cars:
10. Being Rude To Other People
We’re willing to bet that most of you have flipped another motorist the middle finger before. But when was the last time you gave someone the finger on the street? Or told a complete stranger to “f*** off” to their face? Likely (and hopefully) never, right? But our cars give us a feeling of invincibility and make us feel as though we can be rude to whomever we want, knowing there will probably be no consequences for our actions. After all, we’re safely ensconced in our cars and moving pretty quickly when we give another driver the one-fingered salute. Really, being rude to other people on the roads only becomes a problem if we’re stopped at a traffic light or stuck in a traffic jam. As long as we’re cruising along we feel like we’re home free and can be as awful as we please to other people. It’s not like you’re ever going to see that person again, right?
9. Making Ourselves Deaf
We tend to play music louder when driving in our cars than at any other time in our lives, and it seems like most people blare music at deafening levels while in their vehicles. In fact, it’s likely that a good amount of hearing loss can be attributed to car stereos. In our houses, or when we have our ear buds in, we tend to notice when the music gets too loud, and we quickly turn it down. Not so in our cars, however, especially if a song that we love comes on. At that point, we’ll turn the volume knob to the right and put our foot down on the gas pedal. In addition, we seldom seem to turn the volume back down after a song we really like is over, and the more alone and isolated we are in our cars, the louder we tend to play the music. Interestingly, this doesn’t seem to be a phenomenon of only young drivers, as even the older generation tend to blast the music in their cars as well.
8. Having Uncomfortable Phone Conversations
Raise your hand if you’ve ducked out to your car in the middle of the day to have an uncomfortable or awkward phone conversation. Most of us have, and we get very comfortable hiding out in our cars and using them to argue and scream at people in our lives. Whether it is our spouse or partner, or even just the landscaper we hired who screwed up the lawn, a lot of us like to use our cars as an insular bubble where we can close the doors, roll up the windows and battle it out with other folks. After all, we certainly don’t want people in the office to overhear our ugly conversations and hear us raise our voices. But in our vehicles, we feel cocooned, like we’re sitting in a sound proof room where nobody can overhear us and learn the details of our private life. Well, except maybe the parking lot attendant.
7. Playing The Lottery
The next time you’re stuck in traffic, take a look around. Chances are, you will see a fellow motorist nearby, doing a scratch ticket on the steering wheel of their car. This actually makes a weird sort of sense, as most people buy lottery and scratch-and-win tickets at gas stations and convenience stores when they are driving out and about. And, for a lot of folks, playing the lottery becomes an addiction or habit they develop while out running errands in their car, or when they are filling up at the local gas station. Many die-hard lottery players get the urge to gamble when in their cars, and many more people actually play the scratch-and-win tickets while in their cars, taking a coin to rub out the answers on their steering wheel. This seems to be a habit that gets worse over time, with people buying more lotto tickets, and it’s become something people do more in their car than in their kitchen.
6. Becoming A Slob
When it comes to our vehicles, most of us are terrible slobs. Most of us would probably be pretty embarrassed if our homes looked half as messy as the inside of our vehicles. Yet when it comes to our cars, most of us have no sense of pride whatsoever, and we let our cars get beyond filthy. In fact, studies show that more than half of North American drivers have never cleaned the inside of their vehicle – not once. Instead, we let dirt, dust and debris accumulate, along with fast food containers, cigarette butts, coffee cups, Goldfish crackers and loose change. It’s likely that most of us would be a few bucks richer if we took time to vacuum between the seat cushions of our car, but nobody seems to bother. We say we love our cars, just not enough to give them a thorough cleaning once in a while.
5. Forgetting Our Manners
This goes along nicely with how much of a slob most of us are in our cars. In addition to skipping out on cleaning, we also tend to forget our manners in our vehicles, with belching, farting and spitting often all fair game when we’re driving. Obviously, if we’re alone, we feel free to let ‘er rip, but even if we’re with other people, we don’t tend to shy away from squeezing out a fart or clearing our throats, with rolling down the window seemingly consideration enough of the other occupants in the vehicle. While we wouldn’t act this way in the confines of our home, or at work, we seem to give free reign to our bodily urges in the car. Again, this seems to be due to the fact that we feel isolated and cocooned in our vehicles. Plus, the wind will take care of that fart quick enough, right?
4. Eating Junk Food
Hello, drive thru. The fast food industry that we enjoy today was built around the automobile, as spinning through the drive thru late at night to grab a burger and some fries was all developed around the car. These days, we use our cars to get everything from fried chicken and burgers to coffee and lattes. And when we’re not chowing down on a double cheeseburger in the front seat of our car, we’re buying junk like candy bars, potato chips and drinks at the gas stations where we fill up. Let’s face it, eating crap and driving go hand-in-hand, and the obesity epidemic gripping North America today can be blamed on all of us sitting on our butts in our cars and chowing down on greasy fast food and sweets, which fill us up with empty calories and a momentary feeling of pleasure. Maybe it’s time to drive to the gym, people.
3. Sneaking A Smoke
Thanks to most public areas banning smoking outright, a large amount of smoking tends to go on in cars these days. In fact, people who are trying to quit smoking tend to spend more time in their cars. The fact of the matter is, our cars are a great place to sneak a smoke. Whether the car is parked in the driveway or you’re speeding down a highway, lighting a smoke in the car feels fantastic. You’re away from prying eyes and scolding family members when smoking in your car. so basically, you’re free to do as you please, with nobody to answer to but the open road. And if you want to have a cigarette, then you can roll down the window and light up. Nobody’s around to stop you, and they couldn’t catch you at the speed you’re driving anyway. Inhale deeply.
2. Having Sex
It would likely be impossible to tally the number of people who have been conceived in a car. Since the Ford Model T rolled off the assembly line in Detroit more than a century ago, people have been having sex in cars on a fairly regular basis. Front seat. Back seat. Trunk. Wherever. Cars have been parked on Lover’s Lanes and hilltop lookouts since it became a possibility. However, while screwing in a car is considered a rite of passage for many people, it is technically illegal in most places, as public fornication is not permitted in most US and Canadian municipalities. This is why the cliche exists of groping sessions in cars being broken up by the glare of a police flashlight. Still, it doesn’t seem likely that sex in cars will stop any time soon. After all, for teens and young adults, they often have no other place to do it, especially when their parents are home.
1. Getting Lazy
Yeah, you could walk there, but you’ve got the car, so let’s drive. Really, there is no distance we won’t find an excuse drive to, whether it’s down the street, around the corner, or even just next door. The automobile has practically destroyed modern notions of exercise. As a result cars, more than any other technology, are responsible for making us lazier as a collective society. Sure, handheld devices and video games haven’t helped, but people’s dependence and addiction to their cars has stopped most of us from walking even short distances. Many people will skip a trip to their local shopping mall if they can’t find a parking spot close to the front entrance. After all, who wants to walk a few hundred meters across a parking lot? The sad thing is that, in North America, we are becoming more dependent on our vehicles over time, rather than less dependent. In Europe and Asia, people still bicycle places. Over in the US, you only occasionally drive by someone who is dressed like a professional cyclist and riding what looks to be a way-too-expensive bike. It’s sad but true, our cars are making all of us lazier.