When I was about five or six, I thought the "Hazard" button on a car, if pressed while the car was in motion, would make the car do a jump ala "The Dukes Of Hazzard". I never got up the nerve to press it, though.
I used to believe that all roads were perfectly straight. From my too-short-to-see-above-the-dash perspective, I noticed that my mother had to keep turning the wheel (for curves in the road and such) and I remember thinking that something must be wrong with our car.
When I was really little I believed that if the hazard lights turned on when you were driving the car would split in half and one half would turn left and the other right. Needless to say I was terrified of sitting in the middle.
MY mom woudl always tell us kids "don't hang your hands out of the car when I'm driving or they will get chopped off"
I grew up thinking there were really creepy people who drove around incars with knives chopping off little kid hands just for kicks.
It never dawned on me until I was an adult that my mom meant that it would happen if she got in an accident.
My brother, it turns out, believed the same thing his whole childhood as well.
when i was younger my dad used to tell me that if i stuck any body part out of an open car window as the car was moving - that the car would know, and immediately start rolling its windows up. thus, if i stuck my head out of the car, i would be instantly decapitated! he told me it happened to a little girl in japan - and told me to be careful. i was extremely scared and believe this about cars until i was NINE YEARS OLD!
I used to believe that speedbumps were actually there for the blind to drive, and they read it like braille. Thanks to my older brother and sister of course.
When I was 5,I used to believe that hitch-hikers were actually directing traffic, helping drivers by showing them the way to go. One morning on my way to school I decided to stick my thumb out to "help". I couldn't understand why all these cars kept pulling over - and why the drivers were getting annoyed when I walked away!
I used to be scared of cars because th fronts looked like faces - headlights for eyes, licence plate for teeth, etc. I thought the car could choose to run you over. For some reason, I felt perfectly safe IN the car.
My evil babysitter Patti left me in her car (a green Vega, of course) so she could go shopping. Before she left, she told me not to touch what I later learned to be an emergency brake, because if I did, the car would blow up. It seemed perfectly logical that there would be a lever to pull to make a car blow up, since I had seen so many cars blow up on TV. To this day, I can't use the emergency brake without feeling a twinge of trepidation.
My dad told me the hazard light button was actually for the ejection seat. And we didn't know which one it ejected. Thanks Dad.
When I was little, my brother convinced me that the third pedal on a car (the clutch) actually made traffic lights turn from red to green. He would wait until the light was about to change then press the clutch. Sure enough, the light would always turn.
I didn't figure this one out until college. Sad, I know.
When I was five years old, I believed that a car's cruise control was actually a hot dog in a bun with a baseball cap on. He would jump out from under the driver's seat and step on the gas for you.
You know the automatic carwashes? You know, the one where you drive through and those blue scrubber things clean your car? Well, when I was little, I was scared to death of those things, so my sister told me that they were all relatives of cookie monster (the muppet from sesame street), and that they were having a family reunion! I can't believe I actually believed her!
As a child my parents had me convinced that the eject button on the car radio would eject me from the back seat. Thanks to this belief anytime I was being misbehaved in the car all they had to do was hold their finger over the button and I would start begging them not to push it.
My dad used to tell me that if I stuck my arm out the car window, it would get chopped off. I certainly kept my arm inside after that, with horrible visions of someone in a passing car holding a machete out their window for the sole purpose of cutting off people's arms.
When I was about 6 or 7, my father and I were driving in his car and he used the window washer fluid to clean off the front window. Curious, I asked him where that water came from. His explaination for it was that there was a little man who lived under the car hood and peed upward to clean off the window. Everytime after that, when he used the window washer fluid, I was always say 'Its the little man, peeing again.' and then he would always go 'Yep, thats right' and smiled at me. I believe his reasoning behind it for about a year until my mom finally told me the real story about window washer fluid and where it came from when she overheard me telling my dad that the little man was peeing again. I have yet to fully forigve my father for that one, he's still pulling stuff like that on me.
I used to think that so-called "speed bumps" were a waste of time, because if anything, I thought, they slow you down.
When I was a kid we used to take a lot of road trips, and when we got stuck in traffic my mom would always say, "look at this traffic jam." I was about 4 or 5 and I would look at the window for "traffic jam" but didn't know what she was talking about. Then, while playing outside, I saw some puddles in the street with oil floating in them, and I came to the conclusion that this was "traffic jam". I told this matter-of-factly to all my friends in elementary school, until my older sister made fun of me for it.
My wife used to believe that the purpose of the stick shift in her Dad's car was to stir the gas.
When I was 4 or 5 my Grandma told me while we were riding in the car, that If I didn't duck my head when we went under a bridge I would get a nasty bump
You know I ducked my head for years after she told me that, I think into my teens.