Fun Car Facts for Kids
They whiz down the street. They take us where we want to go. They even star in some of our favorite movies. Cars are everywhere we look.
But did you know that cars haven’t always been around? In fact, cars, as we know them today, are still pretty new to our planet.
They come in all shapes in sizes, too. Fancy convertibles and slug bugs to minivans full of families and giant semi-trucks loaded with packages are all on the road.
Let’s learn more about where that automobile came from and how they get you where you’re going.
History of the Car
Most people believe that America’s own Henry Ford invented the first car. But evidence shows that as long ago as the 15th century, Leonardo da Vinci was working on designs for automobile transportation.
Da Vinci’s original designs used windmills to move the vehicles instead of traditional sources of fuel.
These cars ran on many different types of fuel including steam and coal.
They were more like locomotives, though many used the petrol gas that we have in modern cars. Gasoline cars remained the most popular because they could travel the farthest which is why we still use this fuel source today.
True, Henry Ford didn’t actually invent the car. But in the 1920s, he was the one that first figured out how to create lots of cars quickly and affordably so that Americans could purchase their very own.
The automobile helped expand American industry and build the city of Detroit, Michigan thanks to Mr. Henry Ford. Because of him, the first affordable car produced in America was called the Model-T Ford.
It sold for $850 and was first introduced in October 1908 when it quickly started showing up in many American driveways.
At first, cars were purchased only by wealthy families. After this original production, changes were made which made the car increasingly affordable.
People appreciated the invention of the car because it gave them the freedom to go nearly anywhere. They could get into town from their rural homes.
They could visit family and go on trips. All without depending on trains and other public forms of transportation. Cars created a new kind of freedom for Americans.
How Cars Work
Cars have a few basic parts including the outer shell and the engine.
The outside of the car that keeps the passengers safe and the engine protected is usually made of steel, strong plastics, and/or fiberglass.
This is all connected to what is called the chassis where the wheels are which allows the car to move down the street.
From there, everything that keeps us safe and comfortable attaches on. The steering wheel, brakes, and seatbelts are essential.
The engines in modern cars usually operate through what is called internal combustion. Basically, there are a lot of tiny explosions in the engine.
All of these tiny explosions are the start of what allows the engine to create energy to move the car and you to where you’re going.
Modern cars include luxuries like radios, video players, and air conditioning. Most feature cupholders, automatic windows, and reclining seats.
This is a great advance from the Model-T which was considered spectacular with the simple addition of a horn.
Riding in a car can be convenient and fun! But it’s also important to be safe. The first cars did not include seatbelts and some did not even have windshields!
The horn was one of the first safety features to be included in the car to alert pedestrians and other drivers of potential danger.
As more cars are on the road, car manufacturers continue to work overtime to make cars safer. They work on the installation of safer seat belts, airbags, safety monitors, and better quality materials.
Even with all of these features, it’s important to do your part and remember to always wear your seatbelt.
Traffic & Laws
Before there were a lot of cars, there wasn’t a lot of traffic which meant there weren’t many accidents. As the popularity of the automobile grew, people realized that they needed laws.
The first traffic laws set speed limits in Connecticut in 1901. In the 1930s, the first stoplight was installed and included green, yellow, and red lights.
With the help of each of these things, the roads gradually became safer. Now it is hard to even leave the house without following many rules to keep the roads safe.
For most teenagers, it is a rite of passage to get a license, but it wasn’t until 1959 that all states required a driver’s license to operate a vehicle.
Interesting Facts About Cars
There are more cars in the world than people.
Cars are recyclable.
The electricity for the car is stored in a battery.
The first electric car was invented all the way back in 1828.
China is now the world’s largest car manufacturer.
Electric cars are considered the cars of the future in an effort to help with global warming and climate change.
In the late 1800s, the state of Wisconsin offered a $10,000 reward to the first person who could create a substitute for the use of horses and animals as a form of transportation.
Automobile racing began drawing large crowds in the United States as early as 1910. By 1969, automobile racing was more popular than football and basketball.
The V8 engine is considered the best engine for racing. Compact cars, or small cars, were introduced in the late 1950s originally by Volkswagen.
The Ford Mustang was the first sports car introduced to buyers.
SUVs became popular in the 1990s inspired by the Jeep from World War II
Detroit, Michigan is considered America’s Motor City.
The most expensive car ever was a Ferrari that sold for $48.4 million.
The average American spends about 38 years stuck in traffic.
The most expensive speeding ticket was $1,000,000!