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Maybe Stevie Wonder said it best. When you believe in things you don’t understand, you suffer. Superstitions, particularly on any Friday the 13th, result in an estimated economic loss of up to $900 million each year. There are even superstitions surrounding vehicles in terms of car safety fears. We’re going to take a look at several common car superstitions in the U.S. and elsewhere in the world. Do you believe any of these? 

The rituals of superstitions

A common car superstition involves crossing over train tracks
Cars stopped at train tracks | Jeffrey Greenberg/UCG/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

According to The Conversation, as many as 25% of people in the U.S. consider themselves to be superstitious. Superstitions are a set of beliefs that supernatural forces can create unpredictable dangers in certain situations. In general, these are irrational beliefs with no scientific backing.

Superstition is why we say “bless you” when someone sneezes. It’s because of an old fear that the devil might have enough time to go in and steal that person’s soul. 

Many buildings to this day don’t have a 13th floor. They’ll call it something else like 12B, 14A, or just M, which happens to be the 13th letter of the alphabet. It’s done because a certain percentage of people would be uncomfortable staying in a hotel on the 13th floor. Many of those would be worried enough to ask for another room.

It’s assumed there’s a synchronicity between two non-related events. Resolving these situations gives people who believe them a small measure of control and reduces their anxiety. One example is throwing a pinch of salt over your shoulder to ward off bad luck.

5 common U.S. car superstitions

1. Gestures of thanks and your sun visor

Some believe that slapping the sun visor or headliner, or kissing it when you drive through a yellow caution light, will bring good luck. According to Toyota of Claremont, it’s a way of saying thank you for safe passage through the yellow light.

2. Tunnels, cemeteries, and holding your breath

For safety’s sake, you should never hold your breath while driving in any circumstance because you could faint and cause an accident. Some will do just that and hold their breath when driving by a cemetery so they won’t unwittingly breathe in a wandering spirit. Others do it as a sign of respect for the dead. Still, others hold their breath when driving through a tunnel.

3. Pick up your feet when crossing the train tracks

One superstition involves lifting your feet when driving across railroad tracks. Some think if you don’t, you’ll die young, never marry, or lose your significant other. It’s something you should never do because you could fail to brake in a dangerous situation or drive off the road.

4. Scratch your car on purpose

Some think if they go ahead and scratch their own vehicle, it will prevent other scratches from happening in the future. 

5. Wishing on a tractor

When some spot a tractor while driving, they’ll close their eyes and make a wish. It’s the last thing you should do as a driver for obvious reasons. Besides, your focus should be on the road, not looking for tractors.

Car superstitions around the world

The U.S is not the only place you’ll see strange superstition rituals, according to NaijAuto

In India, it’s believed that if you buy lemons, you need to buy four, so there’s one for each wheel of your car. It’s thought that it would ensure the safety of the new vehicle and prevent it from being involved in future accidents.

If you receive change from a transaction in China, it’s believed that you should keep it under your driver’s seat for good luck. You can use that money to donate to the poor, buy from street merchants, or pay roadway tolls.

In France, when a couple marries, it’s tradition for their friends to make a lot of noise outside using pots and pans until they’re invited in for refreshments. Today, those friends attach tins to the back of the couple’s car. 

Regardless of what superstitions you believe, always think about safety first when you get behind the wheel of your vehicle.


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