Automobiles are just a part of our daily life these days. It is hard to remember a time when cars were not a common feature on the road – for most of us, there was no such time in our lifetimes. Sometimes it is hard for us to even realize the huge social impact of the car.
The social impact of the car is actually very extensive. It extends beyond just the way we travel – the social impact of the car can be felt in the way we date and mate, eat, live, view life, and beyond.
From the very beginning, a person’s status related greatly as to whether or not he owned an automobile. A man with a Model T Ford was a very important man, indeed. Today, too, a person is judged by what type of car he has, or if he even has one. Before checking out a man or a woman as a possibility for a date, you may just check out his or her “wheels.”
Even when automobiles were very first hitting the roads, they changed the ways in which we date and mate. The social impact of the car extends to what people did and do on dates. For one thing, the backseat of a car offers so many more possibilities than a doorstep or front porch. Who knows how many babies have been conceived in the backseats of cars over the years?
Of course, let us back up a bit here. Before a couple on a date hits the backseat of a car, they have been affected by cars in other ways. The other activities that a couple does on a date are different, as well. They have more possibilities. They can easily go meet friends across town at a diner. They may even eat their dinner food inside the car at a drive-inn. And after they eat at a drive-inn, where might they go, but a drive-inn movie theater, of course!
Besides drive-inn diners, the automobile brought about drive-up windows at fast food restaurants. Along with the car – which brought us speed on the road and convenience for being where we want to be when we want to be there – we got a need for fast food, as well. The automobile did not simply fasten our paces on the road, the automobile quickened our pace in life. Now we must do so many things in a day, and do them quickly. And because of these new hurried lives that we lead, we need fast food, as well.
The social impact of the car extends to how our cities are built, as well. People can now live further away from cities. They can commute to work. In fact, long commutes have just become a part of daily life. Huge strip malls have been built and gigantic super stores – people can now drive to these and shop at them with ease, and then they can load up all of their purchases into the backs of their cars with ease.
Neighborhoods are being built without sidewalks because people no longer walk anywhere… they drive. People are less likely to be out walking in their neighborhoods and stop to talk to other out walking. Neighbors are becoming more like strangers.
The social impact of the car is so extensive that it is almost impossible to untangle from our daily lives. In fact, the social impact of the car extends to how we even view life. The onset of automobiles gave people a new freedom that they had never experienced before. With automobiles, people could view life as an “open road.” People could travel more easily to the store or even across country. They no longer had to plan their travels around the train schedule or other schedules.
Nothing is or was as freeing as simply being out on the open road. The social impact of the car is so much more than any of this. There is hardly any aspect of your American life that has not been affected by the automobile. The social impact of the car is much more expansive than any other modern-day invention… even more so than that of the computer.