Where wires run side-by-side they are bound together in a bundle, in a plastic or fabric sheath, to keep them tidy and less difficult to fit. This bundle of wires stretches over the length of the car, with single wires or small groups of wires emerging where necessary, and is called the wiring loom.
This is called a negative earth system, and when buying an electrical accessory a radio, for example check that it is of a type suitable for your car system. Fitting a radio with the incorrect polarity will damage the set, but most car radios have an external switch for setting the polarity to suit that of the car. Switch to the correct setting before fitting.
Current flows along a single cable from the battery to the component being powered, and back to the battery through the car metal body. The body is connected to the earth terminal of the battery by a thick cable.
There are many fuses, each protecting a small group of components, so that one blown fuse does not shut down the whole system. Many of the fuses are grouped together in a fuse box, but there may also be line fuses in the wiring.