Cars are great, aren’t they?
They carry us over vast distances at speeds that would have given our primitive ancestors aneurysms. They run off of the crazy-awesome power of controlled explosions and they say a lot about our personalities.
But despite how much we seem to love our cars, we tend to use them without fully understanding some of the interesting facts that go along with them—and that sounds like as good of an introduction as any for this completely random list of 10 interesting car and driving facts.
1. Half of the world’s roundabouts are located in France1. In fact, France is so fond of its roundabouts, that many have been used to display art installations2.
2. In 1752, Empress Elizabeth of Russia is credited as having created the first actual law regarding the side of the road on which vehicles should travel3. She demanded that all traffic in Russian cities must keep to the right.
165 countries and territories enforce right-hand driving laws, while only 75 countries and territories (including Australia!)
It wasn’t until the reign of Napoleon Bonaparte that most of continental Europe began to adopt the right-hand side of the road for traffic as well, with much of the rest of the world following suit as vehicles became more prominent.
Today, 165 countries and territories enforce right-hand driving laws, while only 75 countries and territories (including Australia!) drive on the left4.
3. The most expensive speeding ticket ever issued may have been given to Jussi Salonoja in Finland in 20035. Salonoja was heir to a successful meat company, and was cited for driving 80 km/h in a 40 km/h zone, and was subsequently fined a whopping 170,000 euros. This is because Finnish speeding ticket amounts are based partially upon the driver’s income, so the wealthier you are, the more you may end up paying if you get pulled over.
4. The world’s first motor vehicle fatality occurred in 18696, when Mary Ward fell out of a steam-powered automobile and was crushed under the wheels. Since that time, millions of people have lost their lives in traffic accidents, with an estimated 1.27 million fatalities attributed to road accidents annually7.
5. Bad driving may be hereditary8. Approximately 30% of drivers may have a specific gene which reduces the production of a special protein associated with memory, thus causing them to make more errors on the road. Those with this particular genetic variant performed 20% worse on two separate driving courses in a University of California-Irvine test.
Please Note: Budget Direct does not request a genetic test when applying for a motor insurance policy.
The moon is, on average, 384,403 kilometres from the earth.
6. Technicians who access the GM Tech II on a Saab 9-3 SS can actually play a game of “Pong” on the car’s computer9. With the increasing complexity and ubiquity of onboard vehicle computer systems, we may begin to see other hidden gems like this within the car systems of the future.
7. The moon is, on average, 384,403 kilometres9 from the earth. It takes light approximately four seconds to travel from the earth to the moon, and would take a driver travelling non-stop at 97 kph, 157 days to cover the same distance.
8. Nine percent of drivers10 would drive naked if they could guarantee that no one would be able to see them, and 54 percent have said they would consider singing aloud.
Toyota sold 43,498 new Corollas in the land down under in 2013, taking the lead from Mazda.
9. The Toyota Corolla is the most popular car in Australia11, as of 2013. Toyota sold 43,498 new Corollas in the land down under in 2013, taking the lead from Mazda.
10. The Bagger 288 is the largest land vehicle ever12, standing nearly one hundred metres tall, and measuring nearly 220 metres end to end. The Bagger 288 is used for mining operations, and is capable of moving 240,000 tons of material every day.