While it might seem light-years away, the future of seeing self-driving cars on the road exclusively may be just around the corner. The technology is constantly being updated, and auto manufacturers around the world are investing billions to ensure their place in a future that’s a “when,” not an “if.”
Whether you view autonomous driving positively or not, a future where society becomes self-reliant on technology for all transportation needs will surely make those who enjoy being behind the wheel appreciate what little time and opportunity they may have left.
Of course, for decades, driving has evoked a sense of freedom and independence, like our cars, trucks, and SUVs can take us anywhere we desire, with nothing but our own skills navigating the road.
Is it nostalgic and overly poetic? Probably. But does the traditional car still matter? Absolutely. Here are three reasons why your car matters most.
1. A Workshop of Skills
Excluding the most high-end, modern vehicles that only see professional maintenance and repair, many young motorists earn their mechanical chops on their own vehicles.
Switching out tires, changing out motor oil, and diagnosing issues that tend to pop up can help anyone learn and build upon the basic skills that seem to be diminishing with each generation. Once autonomous cars are the standard, these vehicles will likely depend on computers so complex that only licensed mechanics can fix them.
Pro tip: With more than 4 million subscribers on YouTube, ChrisFix is one of the more popular channels for DIY car maintenance and repair enthusiasts.
2. Customized to Reflect Ourselves
Like the clothes on our back or the shoes on our feet, our cars make a statement. And like our clothes and shoes, we can customize them to reflect our personalities. Adore The Fast and Furious franchise? Then you have likely thought of adding a rear wing and underbody lighting kit to your Honda Civic Type-R.
Decked out in Patagonia gear and love the outdoors? Slap on some rock sliders and all-terrain tires so your truck can conquer the trail. The cars of tomorrow will likely all look like BMW i3’s, but the cars of today are all yours for customizing.
Pro tip: Off-roaders, heads up. Know the difference between all-terrain and all-season tires before buying a new set.
3. A-Tech Home Away from Home
Between the analog car cabins of yesterday and the fully autonomous (and possibly steering wheel-less) cabins of tomorrow, we’re certainly living in a sweet spot of sorts. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, oversized Tesla touchscreens, and more make the inside of new cars feel more like Jarvis from Ironman.
Now that smartphones are a staple of everyday life, young drivers demand a seamless transition while using technology, from their own palms and wireless headsets to BlueTooth capabilities inside their vehicles.
Pro tip: If you drive an older vehicle without Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, you can buy an aftermarket unit starting at a few hundred dollars (check with your dealer to make sure it’s compatible).
Treasure That Nostalgia While You Still Can
Cars have always been a symbol of freedom and independence, but they also represent control. When your hands are on the wheel, only you can tell a vehicle where to go.
There aren’t many things like that left in the world, and when autonomous cars become the standard, it will be one less freedom we have. Treasure that freedom on the road.