We’ve all been there. Stuck in our cars, driving aimlessly through a mountain road, or cruising late at night in the dark with nothing to distract us. Or, even worse, you’re stuck in traffic staring into the distance as you creep slowly, contemplating, thinking, philosophizing.
How did I get here? How many cars are on this highway? Where are we all going? Why are there sidewalks in the movie Cars? Who was walking on them? These are shower thoughts. Or, I guess, traffic thoughts…
Either way, they’re just really weird ways our brain is working through some of the important and not-so-important complexities of the modern world. So, sit back and relax as we take you through a journey of the automotive mind.
Speed and Distance
“Fast.” It’s our favorite word. It’s why we love cars. The Porsche 918 Spyder screams up to 120 miles per hour in just 6.7 seconds, making it one of the fastest cars to reach its top speed ever made. But did you know humans are faster? In just 3 or 4 steps, an average human can reach their top speed. So, take that, supercars.
Why do we care if a car can go over 200 miles per hour if there’s nowhere you can legally drive even half of that? Did you know the average reported driving speed is 66 miles per hour on a freeway? But, did you also know that that’s actually wrong? You’re actually traveling at 67,066 miles per hour. The Earth is flying through space at 30 kilometers per second, so even when you’re sitting still, you’re moving seriously fast.
Speaking of speed, did you ever realize that the right side of a Nascar car travels further than the left side? So, while the Daytona 500 is a 500-mile race, only the left side of the car did 500 miles. The other side did, like, 501 or something. I’m bad at math.
By that metric, your car keys probably have more miles on them than your car does. They’re probably the most reliable car part you own. You will likely never reach the last number on your car’s speedometer unless you have a digital speedometer or whatever.
It Gets More Random
Why are things delivered by boat called cargo but things delivered by car a shipment? Why do the drivers in racing movies suddenly hit the gas mid-race? Why weren’t they full throttle the whole time? Why do we call the stuff we power our cars with “gas” when it’s clearly a liquid?
Wait a minute. In an electric car, what’s the gas pedal called? The volt pedal? The zap pedal? The lightning pedal? I like lightning pedal.
In a few years, when electric cars are the norm, only poor people will drive gas-powered cars. But then, a few years later, only rich people will. Speaking of rich people, golf carts are cheap, like cheaper than most cars. But why do I assume it’s a rich person driving one?
Why is it that owning a lot of cars is trashy unless you’re rich? Or why is it that living in a car is a bad thing unless that car is really expensive? If you see a car with more than one car color it’s either a really crappy car or a really expensive car.
Why do rental car companies make us return a car with a full tank of fuel when it’s literally impossible to do? Is this a scam? Is this traffic ever going to move?
Why do they name cars with numbers? You don’t name other things with numbers. You don’t call a football team the “Seattle 500LTs.”
Did you guys see that launch video of the new Porsche 911 GT3? The track-focused, naturally aspirated, apex-slaying beast? Isn’t it really weird that advertisements for sports cars that have great handling are just videos of those cars sliding out of control?
And It Continues
God, is anyone going to read this article? Is a Zamboni technically a sports car? It is. It is. And it’s a sports car I hope to own one day. Racecar is racecar spelled backward. Why are SUVs called “Sport Utility Vehicles” if they’re not sporty at all?
Cars are pretty incredible. They weigh tons, they go fast, like really fast. They’re made up of 30,000 individual parts, all powered by a flammable toxic liquid that’s burning mere feet away from the person driving the car. Gas goes through thousands of high pressured explosions per minute.
Cars travel further than a human ever could, in any weather, keeping occupants cool or warm, even keeping them entertained. So, even an unreliable car is kind of an engineering masterpiece when you think about it.
But how come we haven’t invented the perfect car? Why can planes fly millions of miles but a Land Rover can’t go a few feet without breaking down? Should Boeing make cars?
Car guys always want to know the 0-to-60 time of a sports car, but isn’t the 60-to-0 time a much more important metric? I mean, that’s a stat that’ll save your life.
The future is crazy. One day our cars will detect if you’re over the speed limit and fine us for it. That’s going to be terrible. You know what else will be terrible? In the future, you’re going to need to get somewhere fast, maybe you’re late to work, or your wife’s going into labor, and you’re going to have to wait for your car to update from the cloud before you can drive it.
The good news, though, is if electric vehicles become popular, property values of houses by the highway will definitely go up. And, in the future, with all the self-driving autonomous cars, it will probably be considered sexy if you know how to drive a car. So, I just have to wait until then to not be single.
In the future, will little kids still go “vroom, vroom” when talking about a fast car? Movies are going to be weird. I mean, in the future, will cars still explode in action movies? They’ll be electric. Will car chases in movies just be to see whose car has enough charge wins?
If cars are self-driving, won’t the police just be able to disable the car over the internet? Will only criminals have old-school manual driving cars? You know someone is important in a movie if you see their foot step out of the car before you see them. Feet…
The cars in The Flintstones were foot-powered because the dinosaurs hadn’t gone extinct yet. You know, because gas is made out of dead dinosaurs. Wait, so does that mean vegans shouldn’t drive cars? Fred Flintstone’s car might be the first no-wheel drive car ever.
Technology Is Crazy
Cars have come a long way since The Flintstones. They’re basically mobile phones on wheels now. I mean, even Apple is thinking of making a car. Will it be the first product they sell that comes with windows installed from the factory? Come on, that was a decent joke. Either way, it’ll probably be the first car made that will be illegal to repair yourself.
Why is it that my phone can tell me how much battery percentage I have left, but my car can’t? 30 years ago it took eight hours to charge an RC car to drive for 20 minutes. Now, it takes one hour to charge a full-size car to drive for three hours.
I can change the ringtone on my phone to literally be anything I want, and car technology is accelerating at the speed of light, but I still can’t switch the default horn noise?
When we get flying cars, are we going to need height signals to say we’re going up or down? Wait, based on how tires work, don’t our cars already float on air? Do we already have flying cars?
Did you know Volkswagen sells more sausages than they do cars? Do you all remember car antennas? What happened to those? I kind of miss putting a little Jack in the Box head on them.
We haven’t changed the measurement of horsepower since the 18th century. Does that mean horses haven’t got any better in hundreds of years? Why do I pay $30,000 to buy a car with advertisements for Ford all over it?
In fact, the average car spends 95% of its life parked somewhere. Why do I spend so much time thinking about something I barely use? Uber and Lyft drivers drive all day, but always walk to work. Is a car mechanic’s job literally to autocorrect all day? Have you ever seen a mechanic’s car? They’re usually pretty rough, dirty, and dented.
Now, imagine a therapist’s mind. How come we have to wear seatbelts unless we’re children and there’s 60 of us packed into a bus? It takes 10,000 hours to master a skill, so how come it seems like the more you’ve driven, the worse at it you are?
Are parking tickets just speeding tickets for going zero miles per hour? Steering wheels are one of the dirtiest places on Earth. How long has it been since you cleaned yours? Do you ever think about how there are streetlights out there changing colors late at night and there are no cars going through them? I do.
If aliens saw Earth from afar, would they assume the cars are in charge? I mean, there are more of them, and they’re bigger, and faster, and they kill a lot of us, and they have giant buildings for them to sleep in. I think the cars are in charge.