Stuck behind the wheel, sitting in traffic, wasting time, losing nerves, at the same time damaging the environment by producing toxic fumes. And yet, it can be different.... Walking, cycling, using public transport - such a choice saves not only your nerves but can also inspire you to change your lifestyle. It is worth thinking about right now - before the World Car Free Day.
On September 22, a Friday this year, there is an unusual holiday. Ecological organizations have managed to create an annual event - World Car Free Day - to draw attention to the fact that the environment suffers from the exhaust fumes from the engines of our cars.
Living and walking in the constantly crowded streets of big cities is unattractive for citizens due to the polluted air. It will be far in the future before we all switch from traditional diesel and petrol engines to electric vehicles. But there is no shortage of opinions that the general situation will not change then because the production and supply of electric cars harm the atmosphere just as much as exhaust fumes. Is it really true? Regardless of the answer, however, World Car Free Day represents more than just a one-day reduction in exhaust emissions.
Before you reach for your car keys
In our daily rush, we unconsciously enter into a car even when it is completely unnecessary. However, sometimes it isn't worth driving everywhere. The korkowo.pl service provides the average speed of car journeys in the largest Polish cities. In Gdynia, Zabrze, Wroclaw, Poznan, Katowice, Kraków and Gdynia, the figures show values below 30 km/h, and in most other large centres, the average was barely above 30 km/h. At this driving pace, drivers lose more than just time.
Crashes and after insults or even roadside fights, not only come from carelessness, but also from constant driving and nervousness. Caution is pushed to the side by a reflex of rivalry: to still have time to drive through the green light, to overtake one more truck, to drive over the crossing before the pedestrians try to cross.
There are already more than a billion of them
When, more than 130 years ago, the first motor-vehicles, modelled after horse-drawn carriages, were built, there were no issues of smog, jammed roads or catastrophes in traffic. Cars were moving very slowly, with high fuel consumption and small range. The inconvenience was also associated with a lack of roofing, tyres and shock absorbers.
However, the development of the automotive industry has been unimaginable. A lot of new roads have been built and more than a billion cars are currently on the road. That is not the end, however. The increase in car registrations across the EU in the first quarter of 2017 was 7.2%, according to ACEA (European Automobile Manufacturers' Association). “The association report also shows that EU citizens are increasingly less likely to choose diesel cars. The share of the automotive market in the so-called diesel market decreased from 50.2% to 46.3%,” says Bartosz Grejner, Analyst at Conotoxia. According to the 2015 data, there are less than 600 cars per thousand inhabitants in Poland, continues the analyst.
“However, in Poland, it is difficult to talk about a dynamic change in the number of registered vehicles. More recently, the average year of production has been changing. We are switching to newer and newer cars,” adds the Conotoxia Analyst. Newer vehicles usually emit less pollution, yet ecologists are trying to convince people to go without a car on a daily basis. The event of September 22nd allows ecologists to find partners among local government officials.
A set of benefits for drivers
On September 22nd in many Polish cities drivers are welcome to enjoy a set of benefits. If they decide to survive a day without a car, they can use public means of transport for free. If checked by a guard, presenting a registration certificate is all that is needed to benefit from a free ride. It is worth giving it a shot! It may turn out that this is cheaper, more comfortable, calmer, and the time lost in traffic jams can be used, for example, for reading the news. As an alternative to public transport, if the weather is favourable, there is still walking and cycling. With the slight intention of improving one's own condition, another for diversification and a care about clean air and the environment, a one-day trial can turn into a lifestyle change. Instead of celebrating a day without a car, try only sitting behind the wheel from the time to time...