Drowning cars

Because Americans like to upgrade products so often, they have developed interesting ways to dispose of their old products. One such way is in an ice car competition.

In many northern cities in the U.S., there is a tradition that involves driving a car out onto a frozen lake in the middle of winter, and taking bets on when the car will break through the ice when temperatures rise. 

The activity became popular in the 1940s when civic groups (such as the Lions Club) realized that putting an old, unused car on the ice and betting on when it would crash through would be a fun competition and a good way to dispose of an old piece of machinery and generate revenue for local cities.

These days, with environmental awareness on the rise, most cities have laws against dumping old cars in lakes. As a result, in cities that continue this tradition, the towns typically remove the engine and transmission, and make sure there are no fluids in the car that might damage the environment. Additionally, the cars are usually tethered to the bank so that they can easily be pulled out of the lake once they break through.

In cities that participate in this tradition, having your car plunge through the ice is considered something of an honor, and it’s not unusual for people to donate their old cars when they want to buy new ones.