But cars can also carry us spiritually. I don't mean in some horrible hippy-trippy way, I mean we can be driving them when - to steal a phrase from Anchorman - whammy! We're not in the real world, we've transcended normal space and time and the only thing that matters is pure physics and the road ahead of us. Our fingers, toes and eyes are in control. Everything else is just along for the ride.
This is when driving becomes zen. Your mind becomes like the cleanest mirror, reflecting the road, your body reacting and controlling the car perfectly.
OK so this kind of thing doesn't happen every day and most drivers go out of their way to prevent you having a good time behind the wheel. Driving is quite often stressful, annoying and boring. Our roads are full and most people who drive drive only to get from A to B. Most people don't care for the art of driving or driving for pleasure.
Most people drive at the speed limit, or just below. Most people get annoyed when they're overtaken. Some unregistered psychopaths even move over and into us when we're overtaking them because their penis is tiny and this makes them angry with society, especially when people overtake them.
Some people drive just close enough to the idiot in front of them in a train of several idiots that means, despite the entire train of idiots doing 45mph on a 60mph road, you are unable to overtake any of them and so become one of the idiots yourself for a few minutes. And then as some point you decide you've had enough of idiots and overtake one or more on a straight bit when no-one's coming the other way, and have to barge in between the idiots who are maintaining a gap to the car in front slightly smaller than the length of your car, thereby elevating yourself above the level of idiot.
If you are like me then you like to drive and everybody else is the enemy. They are out to persecute and denigrate you. To make you drive slow, to pull away from the green light just slowly enough that you hit the red, to wait until you're approaching and pull out in front of you and then take an absolute age to get up to speed. Their speed - not yours.
The enemy drives past horses with their engines revving whilst you crawl past with the clutch dipped and the engine at idle. The enemy drives past your kid's school at 42mph whilst you stick to 30 all the way through the village just in case some old dear or young sprog should jump out from behind a parked car. The enemy parks with their wheels over the white lines. The enemy gets in your way every time the road gets interesting.
On our congested roads full of idiots you must enjoy driving pleasure when you can. Those ten minutes in a journey of an hour when the road is empty, your right foot heavy and your hands loose and easy on the wheel. When the coppers have gone for coffee and donuts and the idiots have gone shopping for Christmas paraphernalia at the garden centre - in September
Then you find yourself enjoying those precious minutes of freedom. When your mind attunes to the road and nothing interferes save for the occasional suicidal pigeon. That is what driving is for in twenty first century Britain.
Don't allow yourself to be in that situation with a boring car. Make sure you drive something interesting all of the time just in case the magic happens, whilst the idiots are buying garden gnomes and the roads are briefly empty.
In twenty years time self-driving cars will start to become the norm. Insurers will soon realise that fallible humans are the cause of the vast majority of accidents and they'll price us off the roads. They won't differentiate between the zen-merchants and the garden gnome buyers. We'll all be lumped into one category - human - and therefore pathetically incompetent behind the wheel.
Enjoy driving your car while you can.
By Matt Hubbard