Since the establishment of the Interstate Highway System by the President Dwight Eisenhower administration and the suburbanization of America in the post-World War II period, cars have become an integral part of the lives and cultural lore of Americans. While green living, global warming and the travails of the American automobile industry have affected car usage patterns to an extent in recent times, Americans still prefer using cars for various pursuits. The advantages of using cars in the vast, sprawling continental landmass of the United States are many.
Independence and Mobility
Cars have redefined the concept of empowerment for women and personal mobility for millions of Americans. The personal independence derived from having a car is immense. People can work, shop and pursue leisure and other pursuits at their own convenience without having to depend on the fixed arrival-and-departure schedules of public transportation systems or expensive on-call cab services. Women can avoid crowds in transit areas and generally travel more comfortably in cars. High school teenagers and young adults with education and work pursuits and other extra-curricular activities need not rely on parents, bus systems or public transport.
Many jobs in America are centered in metropolitan areas which sometimes overlap state boundaries. Other employment opportunities are present in key hub areas in states other than home states. For example, Americans who live in the National Capital Region (comprised of the District of Columbia, Virginia and Maryland) or the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut tri-state area and other tri-state corridors with concentrated jobs crisscross state lines in their cars for jobs regularly. This mode of transport is more flexible and convenient for thousands of workers, professionals and executives and does away with the hassles of having to book tickets for train, bus or airplane travel.
Many underserved areas and vast rural tracts of America are not served fully by ambulances, ER vans, police cruisers and other mobile medical services. During medical emergencies, sudden ailments or other life-threatening situations, it is far quicker to transport a person or patient in a car to the nearest medical center or hospital. In many states, early evacuation of residents during sudden flash floods, forest wildfires and other natural calamities is much faster with cars than expensive and emergency state and private air transport services.
Public Transportation Limitations
Efficient public transportation systems and varied options are generally available only in the largest American cities and metropolitan areas. However, many American states do not have well-developed or all-nodes covering public transportation and/or mass transit systems. A car is the only mode of transport to move from location to location in such states. The suburban way of life adopted by residents in many such states has also necessitated the purchase and use of cars.
Streamlined Pleasure Trips
Since the 1960s, Americans have been using cars to explore the sights and pleasures of continental America. Detailed pleasure trips and micro-travel itineraries across tri-state areas of Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia or Nevada, California and Arizona or Montana, Idaho and Wyoming can be better planned using the car option. Having a self-owned car or rented vehicle helps a nuclear family stay in better control of schedules, rest stops, state tours and also streamline costs.