Driving has changed a lot in the last 100+ years. From the advent of driving rules and regulations, to cars that can drive themselves, motorists from the early 1900’s wouldn’t even recognize today’s roads. While a lot of their advice is outdated and impractical for modern use, some of it is still noteworthy. Check out our top picks for old fashioned driving advice below.
Nowadays, people wear pretty much whatever they want while driving. Even driving barefoot is legal! But in 1909, driving fashion for women was a completely different story. They were advised to wear shoes and not boots, and to avoid lace or other fluffy “toilette” garments. Gloves were a must-have, but jewelry was a no-no. And of course, you shouldn’t leave home without an overall, in case you needed to do maintenance to your vehicle while on the go!
Right now, there are probably thousands of families out on summer road trips across the United States. In 1903, it took Horatio Nelson Jackson 63 days to drive from San Francisco to New York City. Only the upper class owned cars, and even those who did own them usually didn’t stray too far from home. Automobiles back in the day were notorious for breaking down, and not many people knew how to fix them yet. Anyone who was brave enough to take on the open road back in those days was told to have ample supplies on hand, because short trips could become much longer when you ran into problems. Recommended supplies included everything from ropes to sleeping bags to helmets and firearms.
In most parts of the country, gas stations seem to be on nearly every street corner. There are even apps to help you find the cheapest gas in your area. But back in the early 1900’s, getting gas was a challenge. Since only the wealthy owned cars, there were no gas stations. People had to get their gas elsewhere. Grocery and hardware stores, as well as blacksmith shops frequently sold gas. And it had to be poured into the tank by hand, and the levels measured by dipsticks manually.
Car accidents have been around since the dawn of the automobile. But the earliest accidents were the result of there being no driving laws on the books. Cars could only go up to 20 miles per hour, but there were no speed limits. And pedestrians weren’t used to having to look out for cars. Women were taught in etiquette books that, “for a lady to run across the street before a carriage is inelegant and dangerous.” Hopefully this saved a few ladies from getting run over by a Tin Lizzie!
Have you heard any other old-timey advice about driving? Share it with us on Facebook!