It’s hard to imagine a time without cars as they are today, but with each year vehicles change and evolve. The automobile has come a long way since the first steam-powered carriages of the 1700s, and that’s why we love looking back and learning more about the cars we drive every day. We’re sharing some fun car facts that are sure to help you impress your friends at your next trivia night! Here’s some of our favorites:
- There are over 1.2 billion vehicles on the roads today, and by 2035 there may be over 2 billion
- To keep up, about 165,000 cars are produced each day
- 95% of a car’s lifetime is spent parked
- There are more cars than people in Los Angeles
- The average car has over 30,000 parts
- Up to 85% of the average car is recyclable
Texting while driving is the one of the top risk factors for distracted driving crashes today, but when the radio was first introduced, many were afraid the music would lull them to sleep. In fact, in St. Louis and Massachusetts in 1930, laws were proposed to ban radios while driving. A 1934 survey of drivers by the Auto Club of New York revealed that 56% of drivers thought the car radio was a “dangerous distraction.”
The Seat Belt
The seat belt is one of the most critical safety features of a car. It’s no wonder it’s a standard requirement on every passenger vehicle: the seat belt actually saves one life every six minutes! The seat belt as we know it today, in a Y-shape, was designed by an engineer working for Volvo in 1959. It’s designed to help spread energy across a moving body in an accident. In the interest of public safety, Volvo made the patent open and available to all car manufacturers for free.
Our favorite part of the automobile, the windshield, has also come a long way. The earliest cars didn’t include a windshield, but as flying rocks, debris and inclement weather became a problem, windshields were created. The first were introduced in 1904, but were only a type of glass similar to house windows – horizontally divided, so that if the top part got too dirty, the driver could fold it down. By 1919, manufacturers began to make auto glass safer and moved from glass to laminated glass. Over time, auto glass became stronger and stronger, eventually evolving into what we have today.