Let’s be honest, a lot more goes on in our cars than simply driving. Not all of it is good or productive, either. Vehicles today are used for everything from sneaking a smoke, taking a nap, or sending a text message — sometimes while driving! 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. We’re usually on the move when these indiscretions take place and assume we’ll never see these other drivers again. Whatever the reasons, here are some of 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? Somehow, our cars give us a feeling of invincibility that causes us to 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, it’s easy to be a jerk and just keep on driving. 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. Studies have shown that 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 homes or when we have our headphones on, we tend to notice when the music gets too loud. Then we quickly turn it down.
Not so in our cars, however. Especially if that one song that we really love comes on. At that point, we typically crank the volume to the max and put our foot down on the gas pedal. In addition, we often forget to turn the volume back down when the car karaoke session is over. 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. Even the older generations 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. We’ll sometimes use them to argue and scream at people in our lives. Whether it’s our spouse 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. Or hear us raise our voices. In our vehicles though, we feel cocooned, like we’re sitting in a sound proof room where nobody can overhear us or 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 these tickets at gas stations and convenience stores when they are out and about. For a lot of folks, playing the lottery becomes an addiction 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. Many more people actually play the scratch-and-win tickets while in their cars, taking a coin to try their luck on their steering wheel. This seems to be a habit that gets worse over time, with people buying more lotto tickets. 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 cars. Yet when it comes to our rides, most of us have no sense of pride whatsoever. Seriously, some of us let our cars get beyond filthy.
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 empty 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 all 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 you’re alone, feel free to let ‘er rip. Even if we’re with other people though, we don’t tend to shy away from squeezing out a fart. Rolling down the window is 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 these days is built around the automobile, as spinning through the drive thru late at night to grab a burger and some fries has become commonplace. These days, we use our cars to get everything from fried chicken and burgers, to coffee and lattes. When we’re not chowing down on a double cheeseburger in the front seat, we’re buying junk like candy bars, potato chips, and energy drinks at the gas stations. And probably leaving the empty containers in the back seat.
Let’s face it, eating crappy food and driving go hand-in-hand. The obesity epidemic gripping North America today can be partly blamed on all of us sitting on our butts and chowing down while behind the wheel. That fills 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. People that are trying to quit smoking tend to spend even 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. Basically, you’re free to do as you please, with nobody to answer to but the open road. 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. Just be aware that anyone else who enters you car will immediately smell the evidence, though.
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 making use of the back seats. Or front seats. On the hood. Wherever.
Cars have been parked on Lover’s Lanes and hilltop lookouts since it became a possibility. However, while getting frisky in a car is considered a teenage rite of passage for many people, it is technically illegal in most places. Public fornication is not permitted in most North American jurisdictions. This is why the movie cliche of groping sessions being broken up by the glare of a police flashlight even exists.
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 always home.
1. Getting Lazy
Yeah, you could walk there, but you’ve got the car. So why not drive. Really, there is no distance we won’t find an excuse drive, 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 either. But people’s dependence 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 we are becoming more dependent on our vehicles over time, rather than less dependent. In Europe and Asia, people often take their bikes or use public transit. Over in the U.S., only a handful of cities can truly claim to have similar trends. Part of the problem is the sprawling geography of North America — things are often very far apart. Even still, our cars are making all of us lazier.