Superstitions related to Cars and Driving: American Edition


When it comes to harbouring superstitions, our counterparts in the West are in no way different to us. A testimony to the same can be found in a national-level survey by Netquote, a car insurance company as per which 30% of American women and 35% American men hold their breath while driving through tunnels. That is not all, the same survey found a sizable number of Americans lift their feet while passing over a bridge or railway track.

So let’s delve into some of the popular beliefs of American drivers and vehicle owners.

Holding one’s Breath while Passing a Cemetery

This odd practice of holding one’s breath while passing a Cemetery stems from the belief that spirits of the recently deceased persons may enter your body through your breath. Strangely it is a popular belief that is still alive in the real world. Apart from the aforementioned reasons for holding one’s breath, one more is the need to do the same while crossing the boundary of a county.

Scratching one’s New Car

This popular belief originates from the fear that a new car is more likely to meet with an accident. As such some proud car owners purposely make a scratch mark or dent, often on the inside of the steering wheel well, hoping that it will reduce the possibility of meeting with any mishap.

Bird Poop for Luck

One of the worst things that can happen to you in India is a bird pooping on you or your car whereas for our American counterparts it may be a harbinger of good luck and wealth.

Car Coining

It is a practice of dropping a few coins on the floor of a newly purchased vehicle mostly prevalent in  New Jersey and New York. It is believed to bring good luck and prosperity to the driver. It is not known if it indeed does the task it is meant to.

Lucky Charm

Many car owners keep a religious emblem like a rosary or some other such symbol which they consider as a lucky charm. In some cases, a rabbit’s foot or coin is preferred with the same intent and purpose.

Driving through when the Traffic Light is Yellow

Some people have a strange belief that slapping their sun visor, kissing their fingers or touch the ceiling while passing through an intersection while the traffic signal is Yellow. Such drivers believe that it will bring good luck or if not, help avoid bad luck which may appear in the form of an accident or getting pulled up by the cops.

Green Cars ‘A Strict No’

Green colour has traditionally been considered an unlucky colour in the West as it is associated with evil spirits which may cause harm. The same applies to cars too with cars of green colour getting overlooked fearing mechanical faults or accidents.

Unlucky Number 13

Such is the fear of the Number 13 that few travellers set out on long journeys or for that matter purchase a vehicle on this day of the month. This fear extends to even driving on roads or Highways bearing the number 13.

Tying Tin Cans to Newly Married Couples Cars

Every wedding ends with the bride and groom exiting the church in a car with tin cans and shoes tied to the rear bumper. The noise generated by the clanging of the cans is likened to the joy and merrymaking associated with marriage which is said to bring good luck to the marriage. A possible source of this practice finds roots in the age-old tradition of throwing shoes at the newly married couple’s car in the hope of hitting it which in turn would bring good luck.

If you think that is all, then you are mistaken. The act of making a wish on seeing a tractor or the end of a tunnel is also practised by some while some make it a habit of parking in the same place every time. As is evident from this article, people of every society no matter how advanced it may be, are under the grip of some belief or tradition which may or may not have any scientific reason behind it.

Also Read: Here are some of the top Indian superstitions related to Cars and Driving

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