As terrifying as this cover is, we won't lie, it's a pretty accurate depiction of how we feel about our vehicles on a bad day. Car maintenance doesn't come naturally to everyone, least of all first-time car owners in the 1920s. This week, we're taking a look at some old school car safety and maintenance tips, mostly from the glory days of stick shift and all that entailed for rookie motorists.
People might have driven more slowly back then, but by the early 1930s, car accidents had become a national issue. During that era, we focused on some of the misconceptions behind automobile-related fatalities. For instance, most accidents took place during broad daylight, and in fine weather conditions, suggesting that drivers, not the machines, were to blame for all the casualties. Granted, we did occasionally see freak accidents between rogue stunt planes and parked cars, but for the most part, car owners were still figuring out how to navigate roads safely.
During the next decade, we published more practical articles on vehicle repairs and maintenance. Car ownership 101, if you will. How do you keep your tires from wearing out? What should you know about brakes? And what were the researchers in Detroit doing to make cars safer? Nowadays, it's hard to remember that seat belts and windshield wipers weren't always a standard feature in family vehicles, but during the mid-1940s, these safety innovations were worthy of six-page spreads. And why not? They saved lives, after all.
Click through our gallery to read more about old-school engine repair, Cornell's ultimate Safety Car, and about the official who argued that "stupid" speed limits should be abolished.
Popular Science could use the correct word 'brakes' in 1954, but not apparently, in 2011 (breaks?)
I thought it was cool that the dog bailed on the folks driving off the top of that building. Good dog!