Estimated Time to Read: 2 minutes

People have been getting behind the wheel and taking the automobile for a spin for well over a hundred years now, and the sheer number of cars on the roads today is staggering. From the moment that they first took to the roads, funny facts and comical stories have been accumulating relating to the culture of car ownership.

In the Beginning

The early cars are almost recognisable in the smooth and sleek machines that are on the road today, yet they are all built following those first original principles. Principles that changed the way we lived forever.

  • The first ever speeding ticket was served in 1902. Bearing in mind cars were close to shaking apart when they reached 45mph.
  • Early cars never even had a steering wheel as we know it, just a couple of levers that were used to manoeuvre the car around the old tracks that were more usually frequented by horse drawn carts. It took several more years before the steering wheel was introduced.
  • The first cars were never equipped with fuel gauges, the driver simply had to make an estimation about how much fuel he had left.


Drivers can now drive faster for longer, but there have always been issues with driving at the right speed and of course the paperwork you need before you can get behind the wheel.

  • The first traffic light in the USA was installed in Cleveland, Ohio in 1914. Before this giving way was just a matter of politeness.
  • The average speed on the Los Angeles in freeway in 1972 was a breezy 60mph, by 1982 it had almost ground to a halt caused by the sheer volume of traffic, with the average speed coming in at 17mph.
  • The average driver will spend almost two full weeks of their lives sitting at a red light.
  • The first ever insurance policy for a car was sold in Massachusetts, in the town on Westfield in 1897.

Miscellaneous Car Facts

Some things about cars you just take for granted, you get in and you go. It never crosses your mind how they are made or how much they have changed over time.

  • Despite the fact that people claim cars are bad for the planet, the car itself is probably the most widely recycled item around the world.
  • At the first ever grand prix in 1901 the average speed of the racers was less then 50mph.
  • There are around 3,000 feet of electrical wire in your car.
  • The majority of single tome car horns are tuned to the note of F.
  • Despite what they believed in the 1950’s we were not all commuting in flying cars in the year 2000.
  • Back in 1959 the concept of the drive through convenience store was being investigated, the lady of the house would never have to leave her car as she drove around the aisles, using her car as the shopping trolley. Though with trolley rage being what it is now, this could have been catastrophic, if not deadly.

Mark Wetherton is a bit of a gearhead and lover of all things tech and cars – he regularly visits for more information on the latest apps and car accessories.