Automobiles are wheeled motor vehicles that carry one or more people. They run on gasoline, which is burned in the internal combustion engine to produce energy that propels them. The engine also generates heat, which is used to drive a water pump and air conditioning.
The scientific and technical building blocks of the automobile go back several hundred years. The 13th-century English philosopher-scientist Roger Bacon knew that “carts may be made such without animals that they will move with unbelievable rapidity.”
By the turn of the century, Karl Benz and Gottlieb Wilhelm Daimler had perfected their own versions of what became known as the modern car. Henry Ford innovated mass-production techniques to put cars within reach of the middle class, and automobiles became an American industry.
As more and more of these mechanical marvels hit the road, accidents increased. Narrow roads with no shoulders and sharp, unbanked curves weren’t designed to accommodate the automobile’s fast speeds. Drivers had a natural urge to push their vehicles to the limit, and accidents were inevitable.
Many families today consider their automobile to be an indispensable part of life. The ability to travel long distances quickly gives families a sense of independence and freedom that reliance on public transportation cannot provide. Cars make it possible to transport children safely from school to sports activities and to travel for vacations and other special occasions. They also allow the owners to take control over the maintenance, speed and overall driving style of their vehicle, giving them peace of mind.