Dangerous Driving In Early 20th Century America | Things Autos
Automotive History

Dangerous Driving In Early 20th Century America

To some, modern cars are metal death machines. These people are not necessarily wrong, but they likely are unaware just how much worse cars used to be when it comes to safety. Keep reading to learn more about how the years 1900 to 1930 are known by some as the years of driving dangerously.

The first ever vehicle powered by gasoline was designed and made over 120 years ago in Detroit, which is of course still known today as one of the main automotive hubs. Although it was the fastest gasoline power car of the time (considering it was the only one in existence) but it only went as fast as 20 miles per hour. According to one newspaper at the time, it was tore “along the street at a lively rate, dodging people and teams.” What a time to be alive! It did not take long for the number of motorized vehicles in the United States to skyrocket. In the year 1909 there were only approximately 200,000 on American streets. This number grew to over 2,000,000 in less than ten years.

One of the issues of going from horse to motor vehicles was the fast that the city was not equipped to handle them. At the beginning, they did not pose too much of a problem as there were so few of them zipping around. However, this did develop into a much more serious problem once there were more and more on the streets. In order to mark pedestrian crossing areas, safety zones, and parking spots, city workers used the same tool that was originally invented to paint lines on tennis courts. Detroit was known for being the city that really lead the way in transforming their streets from being used for horses to being able to accommodate motor vehicles. Although that is not to say that it did not come with difficulties. For instance, the earliest cars ever made were extremely loud- so much so that they would scare the living daylights out of horses and their owners.

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