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The Evolution of Driving

Where did it all start?

With the important role that cars play in our everyday lives, it seems strange to think that there was a time before automobiles even existed. That’s right – there was once a time when people were dependent on human and/or animal effort to move around, either going by foot, riding on the backs of animals or in some form of coach or wagon. Today, we are looking at the evolution of this manmade marvel.

Karl Benz is credited with the invention of the modern car, but before him there were many engineers and inventors who were working on creating a self-propelled vehicle for various reasons.

In 1885, Benz built the Motorwagen, kicking off the revolution that would not only change the world, but also shape the way we live our lives. One can’t help but wonder whether he was aware of the wide stretching impact his invention would have. The Benz family also launched an activity that has become a proud tradition among many – the road trip. Bertha Benz undertook the first road trip by car in 1888 to prove the roadworthiness her husband’s invention.

It hasn’t been all good though. The first car accident reportedly took place in Ohio in 1891 and the first speeding fine of 1 shilling was given to Walter Arnold in 1896 for driving 8m/h (around 12km/h) in a 2m/h (around 3km/h) zone.

As time went on, safety became a big concern and many manufacturers began including safety features in their vehicles. In 1898, headlights started featuring to assist with nighttime driving. In 1903, windscreen wipers started showing up, though they were hand-operated at the beginning. In 1914, Florence Lawrence invented the turn indicator. In 1930, safety glass became standard for windscreens. Airbags came to the party in 1951. In 1959, Volvo installed the first 3-point seatbelt in the Volvo Amazon and the Volvo PV544 – they actually opened that patent up for all manufacturers in order to save lives. Since these inventions, there have been many more innovations and technological leaps and bounds to ensure our safety on the roads.

As time went by, the environment also became a concern and car manufacturers started to incorporate more and more environmental considerations in their vehicles. It is interesting to note that initially, the car was thought to be more environmentally friendly than horses in urban areas because they created less noticeable waste.

It would be interesting to see where we will go next in terms of driving and how our lives will be impacted by cars, especially if one considers the growing amount of traffic in cities and the rising cost of fuel. One thing is for sure; AutoZone will stay up to date with innovations and offer car parts and products to meet your changing needs.