The Car Culture

As many of you know, you can get a drivers-license in the US when you are 16 years old. What you might not know, is that basically everyone over 16 has a car, and I’ll tell you why. Basically everything in this country is built for cars. The city is spread quite thin, which means that the distances are quite big. Every fast food chain has drive-through and there are parking lots everywhere.

Parking lots

The amounts of parking lots in Omaha (and probably the rest of the country) is staggering. You can find big parking lots and houses everywhere. Even on campus there is 2 parking garages and a ton of parking lots. Just check out this map to get a picture of the magnitude.

UNO-Mav-Village-Gar-01_lgThe parking garage close to my dorm

They have an office at campus just for parking. If you don’t want to pay for parking at campus, there actually is a shuttle going from the campus to a nearby mall’s parking garage just because the parking there is free.

frontThe parking offices at the University

Drive-throughs 

You can’t get fast-food in the night if you’re walking, since the only places open are drive-throughs. Two of the girls from the exchange tried to walk to the window, but they couldn’t order anything since the cashier refused to open the window.

Walking

Even more interesting is how willing people are to walk. A distance of 100 meters (about 328 feet) could be too long to walk from your parking spot  to wherever you’re going. Even if that would be the gym (got this confirmed by one American). When confronted with comments about this, the standard answer so far has been “I’m american, we don’t walk that much”.  I even heard about someone driving to the store next door to not have to walk the distance between them and back.

2013-09-01 23.02.53Is it a tractor or a car? You tell me.
The amount of screens and speakers on this things was, American…

 

Tips:

  • Get to know some local people that have cars
  • Cabs aren’t expensive in America compared to Europe
  • I you want to get some fast food at night, get someone to drive you or take a cab (alt. go to a grocery store, they are almost all open 24/7)
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