Why Would Anyone Drive?

At the weekend I was driving and surprise surprise I still do not get the appeal.  Can somebody help me; what makes driving so great? Why do Americans spend 15 days every year *sitting in a small tin box on wheels? Why do we continue to destroy the planet for the little metal monster? Why am I still not hooked?

1)      Toilets not fitted as standard

The friend I was travelling with is not a fan of stopping.  I am not afraid to admit to the world that I need to go to the toilet quite often, especially early mornings when I am still digesting the pot of coffee that kick starts my motor every morning. So poor me had to scream out when the Austrian border was just too far away.

2)      Lack of Leg Space

You cannot beat trains.  Yeah the leg room is also poor but the difference is you can walk about as much as you like.  This does not only help the circulation but it also means the time just disappears.  You can have a nose around the train and look at the different people.

3)      Traffic Jams

There is nothing more frustrating than a traffic jam.  You sit there watching your estimated time of arrival drift into the far distance and there’re is nothing you can do.  No other transport system is more disturbed than driving due to silly motorists, the dreaded road works or my favourite: simply too many cars.

Image Courtesy of thedailygreen

4)      Traffic Lights, Speed Limits, Speed Cameras, Often changing Speed Limits

I was in Switzerland at the weekend.  They have successfully killed the joy of driving.  Through setting low speed limits, that are enforced with harsh penalties and speed cameras driving becomes very quickly tedious. I am all for low speed limits as cars are more efficient at lower speeds. Maybe that is part of the reason why the Swizz are one of the most train travelling nations: driving is slow and frustrating: 80 Limit then 100 then back down to 60 kmph: ah make up your mind!

5)      Slow Moving Vehicles

See point three and I forgot to mention the frustration due to the loss of control.

6)      Boring Scenery

Fields, Sound barriers or miles of tarmac: take your pick of the scenery: driving is dull. Trains are dull too though.

7)      Death Toll

Like smoking and alcohol if we knew the damage that driving would do to human health we would of probably never ditched the horse & cart. According to the WHO 3000 people die per day around the world due to cars.

8)      Sick Air, Dying Climate & Human Suffering

If you have been in a traffic jam on a hot day or in a town centre for that matter you will know what the pollution from cars feels like. They do not only destroy the local climate but driving also looks likely to tip our climate into a violent monster.

9)      Freedom: Eh Where?

Driving is supposed to show an individual’s success.  This is mainly due to our culture beliefs.  I learnt to drive because everybody else did.  Since then I have not driven or very rarely. However it is part of growing up, it is part of our escape from our parents, and it is also an escape from society. Or the illusion of the escape: there are still rules; the only difference is we control the speed and direction. Traffic of course puts a downer on our ability to do this.

If anyone knows why the world continues to drive please let me know.

*2001 study by the Center for Transportation Analysis

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