A: If the mass extinction of motorized vehicles was an instantaneous event, every driver and passenger in a car would find themselves speeding above, rather than on, a road at speeds anywhere from five to ninety miles an hour. You hear me: in midair. Eventually the acceleration of the car would would be less than the force of the gravity, and the unlucky passenger would crash into the cement, brutally injuring their body, and, odds are, not coming out alive.
If the cars of the world were to disappear (let’s assume that no one was currently driving, which hasn’t occurred for over 50 years, practically since the end of WWII, but for question’s sake, let’s assume), the effects of a careless world would become exponentially more worse than you would think. If you think your morning commute is the worst part of your schedule, then you are sorely mistaken. As we delve into this fascinating thought, stay with me. It’s a doozy.
To give you a proper perspective on our first issue, Stephen King wrote a short story back in the 1970’s called Trucks, which was made into a movie called Maximum Overdrive in 1986. In the story, every car and vehicle becomes self aware, and terrorizes their owner’s in a local diner/gas station. It is very well written and thought provoking, I recommend it to lovers of thrillers. But one line in a the story stands out as one of surprising dread. As the main character contemplates his future, he thinks, “So much of the world is paved now, even our playgrounds are paved… little by little, they can make it into the world they want.”
Our world is a paved one, it’s as simple as that. Pathways, our number one method from point A to point B, are taken for granted every day. Almost every house is accessible by road. To find a house that isn’t accessible is unheard of and impractical. Garages are built into houses like shelf space for a car. Driving is built into the infrastructure of our lives, it is the center of civilization. Cities are built around the interstate. If all the cars were gone, billions of dollars worth of roads would be pointless, and we’d be left with bulky sidewalks for people to walk on: an empty skeleton of what once was a magnificent transportation highway.
Everywhere we go, we either walk, drive, or fly– unless you count bicycling, trains, and boats, which can fall into one of the three categories above, with distance in mind. In our everyday life, walking is reserved to ridiculously short distances. We drive to work, to school, to social activities. If you’re traveling anywhere outside of your city, it is unheard of to not drive. Without cars in our lives, people would be at a loss to get anywhere. Airports would be overwhelmed with ticket orders, pilots would be at a loss, trade and communication would be at an all time low, as people need to travel in order to fulfill those interactions.
On top of our dependence on driving, we need driving to live, literally. 35% percent of families are growing gardens in the United States (Garden.org, A. Cort Sinnes, April 2014), which means 65% of families primary source of food is grocery stores and restaurants. For almost all grocery stores, the supplies are shipped through a car. Some of you may argue that for overseas food delivery, airplanes deliver food, but delivery trucks take the food from the airplane to the stores. We have put so much faith in our vehicles, that we let them handle our lives. For example, it is illegal to drive a car without car insurance, but we can live without life insurance. The human race does not know how to function without cars. They are in every aspect of our lives, an invention more impactful than the lightbulb, and as essential as the computer. We take them for granted every day, and the idea of not having them is ridiculous enough that anyone reading the title is confused, and a little amused.
We need cars, and without them, we wouldn’t be here for long, so drive safe.
May the power in doing so be ever in your possession.
Editor’s Note: This response was submitted by Nathan Hanzel.