Known as the world’s first automobile accident, it happened in Ohio City during the year of 1895, in what is now known as West Side Cleveland. According to Ohio History Central, there were only two cars in the whole state of Ohio during this time, kind of incredible that they were able to crash into each other. Most likely this happened because during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century Ohio was at the forefront of automobile technology – they were seen as the innovators.
It was only until later in the twentieth century that the city of Detroit in Michigan became the hub of American automobile manufacturing. So because of Ohio’s pivotal role at the beginning of the automobile industry, they became the site of many firsts for cars in general. Among these firsts was, of course, the very first car crash.
Now the very first crash happened in 1891, James William Lambert was one of the drivers of the first car accident in American history. Lambert’s vehicle had a passenger in also, James Swoveland, and they hit a tree root which caused the loss of control of the car. Subsequently, they smashed into a hitching post, luckily injuries from the accident were very minor and Lambert went on to patent over six hundred different inventions. Nearly all of his patents were related to the automobile industry in some way.
But this is not the crash we are interested in! The really funny automobile crash happened a few years later in 1895 when the state of Ohio only had 2 registered vehicles in it. And yet somehow these two drivers found each over, and not only did they find each other, but they also crashed into each other. It was one of the first-ever car crashes that were recorded on the roads of Ohio.
The cause was that roads were simply not made for multiple vehicles at the time, this led to numerous car crash in the early days of the automobile industry, and caused a complete revamp in how roads were built. It also influenced the safety measures in cars we know today such as seatbelts and airbags. So though it is tragic to think many people died in automobile accidents simply because the inventors had not given enough thought to road safety and basic passenger safety, at least this insured the necessary changes were implemented.