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Car Dependency Damages Your Health

by Kate Trainor on December 31, 2007

RoadRage Car Dependency Damages Your Health

Two videos from YouTube (below) prove the point: relying on cars for transportation is bad for people’s health. Typically the unhealthy aspects of driving relate to lack of exercise, pollution, global warming, lots of pavement, and dangerous SUVs maiming everyone in their paths. Here we take a glimpse at another unhealthy driving-related affliction: road rage.

A nonfiction piece:

And another which, though apparently fictional, is worth a gander:

Photo via flickr by ExtremearQ

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 MarkR April 21, 2008 at 12:27 pm

Honestly Kate, I’m actually glad to hear you have a car and live in a rural area, it humanizes you. Honestly if I had any thought you never drove a car or never lived out of the city, It would limit your credibility in my view. I truly believe you have to participate in something in order to fully understand it before you can call for its removal or demise with any real credibility. Its probably one reason why I like your writing. It will also help you understand the plight of the majority. Thats a breath of fresh air when some will damn and condemn without having a real understanding of what most people are dealing with. Don’t hide the fact that you own or owned a car if you want to appear credible to the majority of people and even the majority of cyclists embrace it as you try to minimize or eliminate its usage. Kate, its kind of like a 12 step program, stand up and say, “hi, my name is Kate and I own a car.”

The room of people respond in unison, “HI Kate!”


2 cprise April 21, 2008 at 4:31 pm

Ah, but wouldn’t it be heartening to hear from throngs of people who happily lived without cars their whole lives?

If we are reluctant to identify with such people, then we are more likely to internalize the sort of active dehumanization that society often paints enviros with; and it will get worse as we get closer to truly sustainable goals. I don’t want to “savor” or make peace with or linger on my unsustainable side; it needs to be over with ASAP without sentimentality. I can (and should) be tactful and approachable about getting my eco-message across without being sheepish or seemingly guilty that I am inhumanly placing expectations on anyone.

Why wouldn’t others want this as well?

At the end of the day, there will be people for whom we are damned if we do have a car-centric past (”hypocrite”) and damned if we don’t (”not credible/realistic”). The primary way to deal with them is to enthuse enough of the people around them that they learn to think before opening their big, over-privileged mouthes; for then it will be a matter of THEIR credibility when they want to trivialize an urbanite, who stayed green for whatever reason.

Similar thoughts go toward society’s zeal for dehumanizing urbanites, even if only in the subtext based on bad assumptions and prejudices. We need to call people on that and raise awareness of how unhealthy it is in a number of ways material and otherwise.


3 Fred Camino April 21, 2008 at 4:42 pm

I get what Kate is saying, but I also find it funny that your occasional reliance on a [i]machine[/i] is what humanizes you!


4 Fred Camino April 21, 2008 at 4:44 pm

Errr…. by “Kate” I mean “MarkR”, and I was referring to his comment. Sorry!


5 MarkR April 21, 2008 at 6:56 pm

My point being, if you have never driven a car you obviously don’t understand what 98% of the population is going through when they consider going without.

If you call for 98% of the population to do something you better have a working knowledge of what they do and how they do it and be able to relate to them how to cope and adapt.
If someone walked up to me, and I’m a person who has been driving on private property since the age of 10 and they told me,”you must get rid of a car” but yet they have never driven much less owned and relied on it for over 25years. They have no grasp much less the understanding of what it is like to have it and then get rid of it and rearrange their life without one. Therefore in my opinion they can’t relate to the majority of people and will be an ineffectual tool for change. And that person would be totally ineffectual if they’ve never lived in an area without mass transit, and tried to cope without a automobile or masstransit.

As far as the “humanization” comment. I’m sure its a bad generalization but by my experience I view most city downtown type dwellers, that have never had a car and lives in a high rise, and never lived without mass transit as people who stay in their safe little box and don’t get out and actually experience the world. Because its to easy to stay in their little corner. Like I said I’m sure thats a bad generalization but thats the general perception I have and I think a lot of others have as well.

CPRISE said [i]“but wouldn’t it be heartening to hear from throngs of people who happily lived without cars their whole lives?”[/i] To that I say a huge YES! but they aren’t totally equipped to help the masses out of the cars. My Ideal time period would be the 1700-1800’s western fronter. No cars, no TV, no Hollywood, no internet, no electricity. Where if a man didn’t have a huge helping of self reliance, determination, a good horse, a plot of land and a few good neighbors your were….. DEAD.

I continually find myself a simple man trying to make it in an ever increasingly complex world.


6 James April 25, 2008 at 8:11 pm

In 2003 only 4.3% of used tires were converted to asphalt, so that trend is obviously growing quickly. I lived in Phoenix (its awful) and they started using rubberized asphalt a few years ago and its extremely popular. It also reduces friction thereby increasing fuel efficiency.


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