The 1989 movie Back to the Future predicted that the year 2015 had flying cars and turned roads nearly obsolete. Four years past 2015, people around the world continue driving cars today and the roads that come along with them.
Since it’s invention during the industrial age, the car has opened many doors for transportation. Car enthusiasts today adore their vehicles; the power, design and performance they can deliver. For the average joe, a car is one of the best symbols of convenience.
Unlike taking the train or hailing a taxi, a car is only dependent on its owner’s schedule. There is no doubt that cars have paved the way for transportation, today and in the future. Yet, automobiles have also brought about hidden costs for the convenience they bring.
Decreased Social Interactions
A lot of Americans drive to work alone. Without cars, people would walk the streets or ride bicycles, increasing the chances of social interaction. Talking to strangers still sounds off, but there’s nothing like the human interaction we feel during random encounters we have with pedestrians.
Today the convenience of a car often means limiting our interactions to family, friends, and co-workers.
The car has made transportation easier, but can sometimes be a box of isolation when you’re alone. Talking to strangers may not be a good experience for everyone, but it may have a psychological effect on how we interact with others.
The car has become so universally accepted that people who cannot drive face discrimination in many aspects. A person who’s disabled, for example, may be limited to taking public transportation (not a bad thing). More examples include the elderly and the poor, people who may not travel easy thanks to car-dependent environments.
On average, the cost of owning a car can range between $6,000 and $11,000, and that was two years ago. The financial burdens of owning a car also lead to direct expenses (gas, maintenance) and indirect costs in the form of taxes.
For families, it’s sure to be more expensive to accommodate the needs of more people. Individual people and families are not the only people paying more for the convenience of cars. Businesses and landowners have to provide space for car-owners and pedestrians in the forms of more efficient areas for parking decks and sidewalks.
This doesn’t benefit drivers and pedestrians, but also make locations more accessible.
Health and Environmental Concerns
You probably saw this one coming. Motor vehicle crashes are one of the leading causes of death in America. Cars have also shown to be linked with obesity, considering people are being transported by sitting down.
Exhausts have also caused a rise in air pollution, and its adverse effects on health and the environment. Air pollution can be controlled; however, with the help of electric vehicles and cleaner fuels.
What the Future Holds
Getting from point A to point B has drastically changed with cars in the picture. The convenience they offer and the value they bring to people is unquestionable and remain relevant to this day. People love their cars, as they represent travelling with ease and even speak volumes about a person’s identity.
Today, we may not be able to reduce the negative costs of owning a car. What the future brings for vehicles may be in the form of improved efficiency and safety. We’ll never know yet. Who knows? Maybe flying cars can come around, with different benefits and costs as well.