Cars only came into global use during the 20th century. However, the year 1886 is regarded as the birth year of the modern car, when German inventor Karl Benz built his Benz Patent-Motorwagen.
Cars did not become widely available until the early 20th century. One of the first cars that were accessible was the 1908 Model T, an American car manufactured by the Ford Motor Company. Cars were rapidly adopted in the US, where they replaced animal-drawn carriages and carts, but took much longer to be accepted in Western Europe and other parts of the world. In the UK only the rich and famous were seen using them but were quickly used by British Royalty and Aristocrats. King Edward the VII was the first Royal to embrace this new Motor Car when he enjoyed his first ride in one in 1896.
Today, sadly car etiquette seems to have become a thing of the past but here are my top 10 car etiquette rules for the 21st century.
1. Courtesy: Always allow the lady or the most senior person to sit in the front seat next to the driver as this has the most leg room.
2. Doors: Always hold a door open for a lady or your elders and assist them into the car, then close the door for them.
3. Manners: Assist your passenger by offering them the seatbelt when they are getting in your car.
4. Mobile Restaurant: Don’t smoke or eat in someone’s car. This is someone’s personal space and treat it as such. Bear in mind it is also illegal to eat and drink when driving in certain countries so please avoid doing so as habit.
5. Backseat Drivers: Never give a driver instructions, advice or directions unless they ask for them. You may think you are a walking satellite navigation system but the others in the car may not thank you for it.
6. Borrowing: When you borrow someone’s car, always make sure you have the correct insurance and make sure you fill up the car with petrol as a thank you.
7. Tiny Tots: Children are always expected to sit in the back of the car in their child seat. When they reach the age of 12, this may be renegotiated but until then, they are backseat drivers. Parents – No, you may not put your children on the roof rack!
8. Delusions of grandeur: When you are on a car journey with just one friend or family member, you never choose to sit in the back of the car as they may think you are being rather grand.
9. Limousines: In a limousine, the privileged seat is the kerbside back seat. That is where your guest of honour sits.
10. Couples: If two couples are travelling together, the people in front have their partners sitting diagonally in the back so they may still see and communicate with their companion.