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The art of the Sunday Drive is being eradicated from history. As our lives accelerate and our minds become entrapped by the daily grind, we forget to escape and maintain our familial relationships. The muscle car era clearly defined a Sunday drive—cruising around in a widebody with your family in tow was the norm after church. 

Modern families have been shamed away from using this practice to strengthen their familial bond due to emissions regulations and lobbying as well as the increased demand on millennials to perform within the economy. 

The impacts of family bonding on development

Family bonding can help to alleviate, but not solely resolve many of the issues faced by modern parents. Children lacking mutual respect likely feel disrespected themselves, untrustworthy children are sometimes mirroring behavior they have seen in the home. By setting aside time for the family to bond, the ties that bind us can be solidified and renewed. 

Sunday drives embody this allocation of time in a very American way. Whether you’re rolling in a Hyundai or a Pony Car, spending a little bit of time exploring the roads (and maybe trails, if you have a Jeep!) around you can give your family the time they need to connect.

Impact on the environment

The environment suffers every time we start our cars, so why bother with a Sunday drive? The important question here is, will saving the planet matter if our children have no idea how to bond or communicate? Maybe. Then again, maybe they can use their communication skills to help resolve the environmental issues at play. 

For a one hour drive, the amount of CO2 produced will vary based on the vehicle. One gallon of gasoline creates 8,887 grams (19.6 pounds) of CO2 when burned. The effect on the average tree can process an average of 48 pounds of CO2 per hour once it reaches 10 years of age. It’s up to you to decide if this effect on the environment is worth it for you.

Vehicle upkeep benefits of the Sunday drive

When left to sit, vehicles waste away, causing damage to carburetors, fuel lines, batteries, and more. Once the vehicle is due to come back into service, all of these parts must be replaced to be sure the car will not strand you. When you take regular Sunday drives, you can also tell when parts start to fail.

Replacing parts before they fail improves the longevity of other, related parts because they are not susceptible to a catastrophic part failure. Say a brake caliper begins to stick. This small issue can quickly turn into an expensive set of repairs including:

  • Tire and rim replacement
  • Rotor and brake replacement
  • Brake line replacement and bleed
  • Brake fluid replacement
  • Paint repair
  • Etc. 

Driving regularly may clue you in that something is wrong when your car does not coast out of the driveway in neutral on Sunday. 

Personal mental health benefits of the Sunday drive

We all need some time to escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life and Sunday driving is a great way to get away. Exploring nearby towns may result in finding new friends and making new interpersonal connections.

Feeling desirable at the friend level is an excellent benefit to mental health. And if your co-pilot is a furry friend, then you are in for additional benefits. Research has shown that providing physical affection to furry friends releases hormones to increase our satisfaction with life.

All in all, it is saddening that we have, as a culture shamed and abandoned the Sunday drive, despite the many reaching benefits it can have.