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Inside this blog, you’ll learn all the things you’ve wanted to know – and maybe some you didn’t know – about cars.

If you need some extra car knowledge today, you’ve come to the right place! Today’s lesson is all about car facts. From the crazy and weird to the historical and innovative, there is so much to know about cars and how we interact with them. Here’s a list of fun car facts that you will make for an excellent conversation whether you’re in the garage or at a dinner party.

The History of Cars

The first cars didn’t have steering wheels. Instead, they had levers, much like a boat’s tiller, to direct which way the tires turned. (History Garage)

1905 Oldsmobile with tiller instead of steering wheel
1905 Oldsmobile tiller. Source: secondchancegarage.com

The first car accident happened in Ohio in 1891. (Mental Floss)

Buick was the first to make electric turn signals standard in their vehicles in 1938. (NY Times)

The first-ever speeding ticket was given in 1896. The driver was driving 8 mph on a 2 mph street. (Money Week)

Louis Chevrolet, a racecar driver, inventor, and founder of Chevrolet, was always very poor and died bankrupt as he was only a mechanic within the business during his life. (Automotive News)

Louis Chevrolet in a Buick racecar
Louis Chevrolet in a Buick racer in Crown Point, Indiana, during the Cobe Cup Race in 1909. Source: wikipedia.org

Car Inventions

Windshield wipers were invented by a woman. Back in 1903, Mary Anderson sent in her patent for a “window cleaning device” made for electric cars. Her windshield wiper required a lever to be activated inside the vehicle. (Wikipedia)

The inventor of cruise control was blind. Inventor and mechanical engineer Ralph Teetor was blinded at the age of five inside a workshop. In 1948, Teetor dreamed up cruise control as a solution for his lawyer who was constantly speeding up and slowing down as he talked while transporting him from place to place. (Wikipedia)

Ralph Teetor examining cruise control
Ralph Teetor (right), cruise control in hand, with William Prossner, president of Perfect Circle, in 1957. Source: smithsonianmag.com

Weird Car Laws

In Russia, it’s a criminal offense to drive a dirty car. (BBC UK)

Honking your horn in New York City, unless you’re having an emergency, is illegal. You can receive up to a $350 fine for honking, though it is not strictly enforced. (NY Times)

After 9 PM in Little Rock, Arkansas, it’s illegal to honk your horn near places where drinks and sandwiches are served. (Insider)

In Youngstown, Ohio, you can be ticketed for running out of gas. (US Insurance Agents)

In Germany, it’s illegal to stop on the Autobahn, even if your car breaks down or runs out of gas. (The Zebra)

The heavily frequented Autobahn highway in Germany
The heavily frequented autobahn highway in Germany. Source: istock.com

Want to learn about more ridiculous driving laws? Check out our list here.

Car Stats

On average, 95% of a car’s lifetime is spent in park. (Reinventing Parking)

The highest mileage a car has traveled over 3 million miles. Irving Gordon drove his 1966 Volvo 1800S all over the continent. His longest trip at one time was driving from New York to Vancouver, Canada. Gordon had to change the oil every 3,000-3,500 miles and flush out the transmission fluid every 25,000 miles. Sounds like a lot of work, huh? (Guinness World Records)

Irv Gordon with his 1966 Volvo 1800S
Irv Gordon with his 1966 Volvo 1800S. Source: guinnessworldrecords.com

On average, it costs an American $8,876 a year to maintain a vehicle. That’s $443,800 if you have a car for 50 years of your life. (AAA Newsroom)

35% of the world population drives on the left side of the road. (World Standards EU)

Only 18% of drivers in the U.S. can drive a manual transmission. (CBS Minnesota)

The Riches & Future of Cars

In 2012, Nevada was the first state to hand out self-driving licenses. (Reuters)

Studies show that self-driving cars could eliminate car crashes by up to 90%. (Wall Street Journal)

A Waymo, customized Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, used for Google's autonomous vehicle program.
A Waymo, customized Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, used for Google's autonomous vehicle program drives down 8th Street in San Francisco. Source: istock.com

Laws in the United States and Europe require that all-electric cars make “noise” as their engines are silent and won’t be heard by pedestrians without it. (BBC News)

75% of Rolls-Royce vehicles ever made are still on the road today. (The Economist)

Almost 165,000 cars are produced every single day. (Worldometers)

The most expensive car ever sold was bought for $70 million in 2018. It was a 1963 Ferrari GTO. (CNBC)

1963 Ferrari GTO that sold for $70 million
1963 Ferrari GTO. Source: cnbc.com

Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah owns the most cars in the world with over 7,000 cars in his garage(s) that include 574 Mercedes-Benzes, 452 Ferraris, 382 Bentleys, 209 BMWs, and 179 Jaguars. (StartRescue.co.uk)

Did you learn something new? Tell us your favorite fact from our list in the comments below!

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Erin Maxson

Erin loves nothing more than a good road trip. To her, getting behind the wheel is one of the biggest adventures you can take because it can lead to anywhere. Alongside her Toyota Tundra, you'll find her co-pilot pup, Rory, and a 1976 Airstream Argosy in tow. Her motto: Life is a scenic road, take your time and enjoy the ride.

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