Automobiles have driven much of the American culture. People around the country celebrate what it means to be an American each summer on the 4th of July. But year-round, people of this country drive “The American Way” through the tradition of the automobile.
Here are a few ways cars have shaped our culture in America:
As driving became an affordable and more popular part of American culture, so did drive-in theatres. Drive-ins have been romanticized in American popular culture, especially movies. Drive-in theatres are actually still an attraction today and will always be considered an American institution.
Tailgating Tailgating is a real American tradition, tied around something even more American – sports. Spirited fans started this social tradition. Eating, drinking, and socializing are favorite American past-times. Thrown into the back of a car before a game, you cannot get more American culture than tailgating .
Movies constantly portray Americans cruising across the country on epic road trips. And these occasions aren’t just for movies, but are traditional for many Americans. For the modern, middle-class American family, taking a vacation meant taking a road trip, and it still does today.
Many American songs are centered on auto themes. Some of our most evocative American tunes are tied to our obsession with the automobile. For example, the song “Maybelline,” by Chuck Berry is considered the starting point of rock and roll guitar in our country.
For many, the sound of a game on the radio or news update is very nostalgic. Car radios teach us songs, give us the latest news, and bond us together on our epic American road trips. AM/FM radios in cars have created a culture all their own. From Diane Rehm, to Casey Kasem to Dr. Laura, radio created a variety of voices and experiences we’d never have otherwise enjoyed. .
Americans will always have a love affair, and possibly obsession, with their automobiles. We wish you a safe and happy summer, enjoying your freedom across the open road!