Dr. Michael Kearl, Professor of Sociology at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, helped out with the chapter on the sociology of driving.
For years, he’s been interested in the relationships and the social structures for the road — how different communities develop different kind of cultures with regards to driving etiquette, honking and so forth. In particular, he’s intrigued by the whole element of conspicuous consumption and displays even though everyone’s in gridlock and you in your Maserati are going no faster than the beat up VW in front.
He points out, “The whole idea of the car and the open road is just so firmly ingrained in our cultural identity in the 20th century that it will be hard to wean. Our car is one of the few zones of solitude we have — next to the bathroom, I might add. And that’s why bathrooms have gotten so much larger over time.”