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When and where was the first car accident?

Thousands of automobile accidents happen across the United States on a daily basis. They have occurred so frequently that we have almost become numb to them. This numbness is largely due to the fact that cars have become such a ubiquitous part of our daily life. We expect to ride everywhere in cars and for people to get into accidents involving cars regularly.

However, there was also once a time when people were not as familiar with car accidents. Only a handful of people actually drove cars routinely back then. Like with everything else, there has to be someone who comes first. The first recorded accident in the United States was in 1891 in Ohio City, Ohio.

The First Cars

Car accidents were not directly on the minds of the earliest car designers. These individuals were too busy trying to figure out a sustainable way of powering a small engine so that it could keep a car going over a considerable distance. The earlier engine types were not very efficient. They were powered mainly by steam. In a steam-powered engine, the engine has to be constantly fed with wood.

While this approach works well with a locomotive, it is not as effective with a small engine, for one or two passengers. Instead, a more reliable engine design was necessary. At the end of the 19th century, several inventors started to develop internal combustion engines that used small gasoline explosions to reliably power cars. This system became the standard for cars throughout the 20th century and into the 21st.

The First Car Accident

Inevitably, after cars were designed, there was going to be an accident. There had been countless buggy accidents across the country and around the world. As for car accidents, the first automobile accident in the United States involved one John William Lambert. Lambert was one of the nation’s leading automobile pioneers. He developed the first American vehicle powered with a gasoline engine.

This vehicle was finished in the early 1890s and was released to the market years before automobiles became popular. Lambert spent many days and nights developing what he called a horseless carriage. He was an expert in small gasoline engines who perfected an engine strong enough to power a car while also being small enough to not weigh that car down.

In order to protect his invention from his potential competition, Lambert used to drive his automobile at night. The first recorded accident from a gasoline-powered automobile occurred in 1891 during one of those night rides. Lambert made a wrong turn and inadvertently hit a tree stump. The stump caused his automobile to veer and run into a post. Lambert suffered no major injuries.

How the Way We Handle Accidents Has Changed

In the early days of automobile travel, there was no precedent for accidents. They simply happened without money changing hands or people being punished. Insurance companies did not get involved. In fact, there was no such thing as car insurance. Now, there is an established system for dealing with these events.

  • A person can file a claim with their insurance company and can contact a lawyer
  • The lawyer can collect evidence against the person who is responsible for the accident and can pursue a criminal case
  • This case has a considerable chance of being successful and eventually leading to a cash payment to help meet the various needs a person may have after an accident

The days following your first car accident can be critical. Read this article to make sure you are well-prepared.

Categories: HistoryLife