In many countries – particularly the US – a car is considered to be a sort of status symbol. Learning to drive and getting your first automobile is a rite of passage for lots of teenagers, representing freedom and independence. However, the winds of change are blowing. Numerous cities in Europe are moving towards becoming car-free as a way to both make their streets safer and reduce the amount of air pollution their citizens are exposed to. Obviously getting rid of cars completely is not yet feasible for everyone, especially people who live in rural areas. If you can do it though, there are a whole wealth of benefits you could gain. Here are just a few of them.
It’s better for your physical health
We’ve all heard that sitting is the new smoking, and leading a sedentary lifestyle is bad for our health. It can increase your chance of developing a number of conditions ranging from obesity to cardiovascular disease, so being active is vital. One simple way to ensure you get more exercise during the day is to walk or take public transport rather than drive, therefore going car-free could help you to lose weight and improve your physical fitness.
It could boost your mental health
If you drive regularly, you’ve likely experienced the annoyance of being caught in a traffic jam or driving around for ages searching for a space to park your car. Studies have demonstrated that driving is the most stressful way to commute, therefore making the switch to walking, cycling, train or bus could help you to relax and destress.
Reading a book, playing games, or listening to music or podcasts can make the experience much more enjoyable.
You might save money
The truth is that owning a car is expensive. From gas and insurance to tax and maintenance, the costs quickly add up – and that’s before you take other fees such as parking and tolls into account. Walking, cycling or using public transportation instead could help to reduce your regular outgoings. Plus, if you decide to commit to the car-free lifestyle and sell Lotus or whatever model of car you currently own, you’ll actually end up making some money!
It can be more convenient
For those who live in an urban area, it’s often more of a hassle to drive than to walk, cycle, or use the public transport systems. This is only becoming more true, as many cities focus on trying to reduce the number of cars on their roads. Hopping on the subway or bus is often a quicker way to travel – and there’s no need to worry about parking when you arrive at your destination!
You’ll be helping the environment
Moving towards a car-free world is a fantastic way to reduce carbon emissions and improve the air quality in our neighborhoods, so why not do your bit to help? Ditching your car can not only make a difference to the problems of climate change, it can also improve public health by reducing the amount of toxic chemicals in the air which contribute to respiratory conditions such as asthma – making your city a more pleasant place to live for everyone.