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article number 611
article date 11-17-2016
copyright 2016 by Author else SaltOfAmerica
Your Auto is Killing Me! Our New Affection for the Automobile Causes Deadly Accidents and New Laws, 1916
by Hoosier Motorist magazine staff

From the Volume 4, 1915-1916, Hoosier Motorist magazine.


There appear daily, in the newspapers throughout the state, articles describing the consequences of reckless or careless driving. There are too many imbued with the idea that he or she is a careful driver—that taking a chance once in a while is only human.

Seventy-five per cent. of the accidents reported are accidents in which representative men and women figure. They are men and women who are prudent and careful in the business affairs of life, but in an automobile they seem to forget their responsibility and take needless chances for the sake of saving a little time.


In the face of the many terrible accidents occurring daily it is time the automobile driver pause a moment and reflect. You may have taken chances heretofore and come out unscathed, but how about the next time? The next time it may be yourself, your child, your father or mother, or some one near and dear to you.

Even if it is an entire stranger you have killed or injured you will be awakened to the responsibility which rests on you by the awful realization that you have injured or caused the death of some one.

Criminal carelessness is an ugly word, but it is being applied nowadays to the driver who takes chances, and when that term is applied, you will find yourself outside the law.

A little more care, a little less hurry, will make you a better man or woman and a better citizen. It may save you a lifetime of regret.

Laws for the Motorist (Indiana)



• Ten miles an hour in business district.
• Fifteen miles an hour in residence district.
• Twenty miles an hour on boulevards. Twenty-five miles an hour in country.
• Six miles an hour around corner or curve where view is obstructed.


All drivers and pedestrians must at all times comply with any direction, given by voice, hand or other means, of any member of the Police or Fire Force, as to stopping, starting, approaching or departing from any place, the manner of taking up or setting down passengers, loading or unloading goods in any place.


It shall be unlawful for any owner or operator of any automobile or other motor vehicle, to use blinding lights or searchlights without being equipped with dimmers or dimming veil, while using the same in the city limits of Indianapolis, and said dimmer and veil be in good condition and working order all the time.

That nothing herein contained shall apply to automobiles or vehicles used by the police or fire department or ambulance, when in the performance of their duties.

Any person or persons violating any provision of this ordinance shall, upon conviction thereof, be fined in any sum not exceeding twenty-five dollars ($25).


Drivers of cars shall stop when signaled to do so by drivers of horses.

Slow down or stop when approaching or passing a street car that has stopped.

Slow down, stop or sound warning when approaching a pedestrian in the street or highway and when approaching a corner or curve where the view is obstructed.

When about to pass any other vehicle slow down, when 1,000 feet away, to fifteen miles an hour.


When meeting others in the road, turn to the right of the center.

When overtaking other vehicles pass on the left side.

When others desire to pass you, turn to the right so as to allow free passage on the left.

At the intersection of public highways keep to the right of the center when turning to the right, and pass to the right of such intersection when turning to the left.


All pedestrians crossing streets at street intersections in the congested district shall cross at right angles with the general traffic and shall not cross such intersections diagonally. They shall wait for the signal of the traffic officer, where one is stationed, and move in the direction of traffic only.

The Board of Public Safety may by resolution establish safety zones for pedestrians at such points as may to it seem proper, and may indicate the same by standards, ropes, chains, marks on pavements or otherwise.

No person shall drive any vehicle upon or over any such zone between the hours of six o’clock a. m. and seven o’clock p. m.


All cars shall be provided with adequate brakes and a suitable bell or horn.

Two front lights and one red rear light shall be displayed from one-half hour after sunset to one-half hour before sunrise.

Rear light shall shine upon number plate and make numerals visible for 100 feet.

Motors shall not be left running when cars are without attendants.

When approaching crossroad, town or village, slow down and sound horn.


Before slowing up or stopping, drivers shall signal to those behind by raising the whip or hand.

In turning, while in motion, or in starting to turn from a standstill, signal shall be given by the whip or hand showing the direction in which the turn is to be made.

Before backing or slowing up, ample warning shall be given. In backing, unceasing vigilance must be exercised not to injure anyone behind.

One blast of the police signal indicates that east and west traffic stop and north and south traffic move; two blasts of the police signal indicate that the north and south traffic shall stop and east and west traffic shall move. Three or more blasts indicate danger. Massachusetts, Indiana, Kentucky and Virginia avenues shall be considered as north and south streets, as to this regulation.


Police, fire department, fire patrol, traffic emergency repair, ambulances and United States mail vehicles shall have the right of way in any street and through any procession.

All traffic on north and south streets shall have the right of way over traffic on the east and west streets, except Washington street. All traffic on Indiana, Massachusetts, Kentucky and Virginia avenues shall have the right of way over all other traffic on any other street.

The driver of any vehicle, on the approach of any fire apparatus, shall immediately draw up said vehicle to the right hand curb as near to same as practicable, and bring it to a standstill until all such apparatus has passed.



Merely because a horse is a fool and not in possession of his due allowance of horse sense, that in no wise relieves his owner of responsibility for any damages the four-legged fool may be guilty of.

All this was decided recently in a Texas court where the owner of an automobile sued the owner of a horse which, while being driven by its owner backed into the plaintiff’s car.

The horse owner asserted he was not liable because the animal’s antics were “the result. of its inherent nature.” The court held otherwise, however, thus showing that even in Texas the horse is no longer the king of the road he once was.


With the recent publication rather generally by newspapers over the country of an article by J. J. Cole, President of the Cole Motor Car Co., on the standardization of the traffic laws in the cities of the United States, an effort has been launched to spread the idea in such a manner that some definite action eventually can be taken along this line.

In his article Mr. Cole reasoned that since touring has increased so markedly during the last year, a necessity for some uniformity in our traffic laws has developed as a means of protecting the public from involuntary transgression of the municipal codes.

The motorist, he stated, who in his rambles, journeys from city to city, finds himself in each community confronted by a practically different set of traffic laws. Ignorant of just what they are and really in no position to make a special effort to find out just how they differ from those to which he has become accustomed, he attempts to use his best judgment and thus avoid any embarrassing difficulties.

The traffic laws differ so widely, however, that he is constantly in a turmoil as to what to do.

General conditions in the larger cities of the country, however, are not so different that it would be impossible to adopt some uniform code of standardized traffic laws which, with but few alterations, could govern the traffic conditions generally. They would establish a standard for parking cars in the loop districts, for dimming headlights in the city limits, for passing intersections, for blowing horns, etc., at the same time defining the rights of the pedestrian as well as the motorist.

Throughout the East, the idea has taken a firm hold and many motorists as well as motorists’ organizations have promised their co-operation.

One suggestion that was received and which has been given some serious consideration, is that after the project has been submitted through the motor organizations to the various city and state bodies for their stamp of approval, a delegate be appointed by each state to meet in a national traffic convention, where a standardized code of traffic laws shall be formulated.

It was suggested further that in the meanwhile, several of the prominent efficiency experts of the country be asked to submit sample codes of laws which may be used as a basis for the work to be done at the national convention.

Kindly Mention The Hoosier Motorist When Answering Advertisements.

In speaking of the project, Mr. Cole said:

“The standardization of the manufacture of automobiles has so simplified the work of the industry that I felt that by standardizing the traffic laws we would find a remedy for difficulties we are experiencing.

“During the last summer I toured rather extensively throughout the country. I met other tourists who like me were journeying over the United States. One topic which was discussed on every hand was the traffic law question. Motorists complained that they were constantly inconvenienced because of their unconscious violation of some local traffic law of which they previously were not cognizant.

“Just take my own city and Chicago as examples: in Indianapolis we have the improved semiphore system of directing traffic in the down-town district. An officer stationed at the intersections in the business section has a large semiphore, one side bearing the legend ‘Stop-Stop’ and the other ‘Go-Go.’ The motorist approaching a crossing looks at the semiphore and at once can tell whether he should stop his car or whether he can go on ahead along his course.

“In Chicago a whistle system is in vogue. A stranger in the town does not know what to do. In the bustle and noise of the loop district he is more or less perturbed—at least he concentrates his attention on the careful guiding of his car.

“He sort of follows the crowd, but all of a sudden he finds himself at the crossing with no car ahead of him. He hears a whistle. Uncertain as to what to do, he hesitates, and the very first thing he gets a characteristic calling down for blocking the cars behind him by his delay.

“Then there. are laws about passing moving street cars and street cars which have stopped to take on passengers. All cities do not have these. The motorists never know just what to do, and as a result, what should be his rightful pleasure as a motor car owner becomes a most disturbing occupation.

“With a uniform code of standardized traffic laws in effect, however, the motorist as well as the pedestrian, regardless of what city he might chance to visit, would be fully informed as to what would be expected of him. Personally I believe it would solve a great many difficulties and could be installed with little trouble and at practically no expense.

“The Safety First Federation of America is doing a great work in this country and as a corollary to what that organization is doing I believe the active co-operation of the cities over the country in establishing a code of standardized laws to govern traffic would prove a vast help and serve to solve many of the problems with which this organization is now forced to deal.”

Doubtless it will take some time to develop the idea which Mr. Cole suggests to such an extent that it would be possible to hold a national traffic law convention, but with active interest in the idea, it does not seem impossible. Many people of prominence have already declared their intentions of assisting the project, and it is likely that within a very short time it will take some definite shape and will be furthered systematically as a nation-wide movement.


By George Fitch—From Collier’s Old Files.

Rule 1—Pedestrians crossing boulevards at night shall wear a white light in front and a red light in the rear.

Rule 2—Before turning to the right or left they shall give three short blasts on a horn at least three inches in diameter.

Rule 3—When an inexperienced automobile driver is made nervous by a pedestrian, he shall indicate the same, and the pedestrian shall hide behind a tree until the automobile has passed.

Rule 4—Pedestrians shall not carry in their pockets any sharp substances which are liable to cut automobile tires.

Rule 5—In dodging automobiles, pedestrians shall not run more than seven miles an hour.

Rule 6—Pedestrians must register at the beginning of each year and pay a license fee of $5 for the privilege of living. There shall be no rebate if they do not live through the entire year.

Rule 7—Pedestrians will not be allowed to emit cigarette smoke on any boulevard in an offensive or unnecessary manner.

Rule 8—Each pedestrian before receiving his license to walk upon a boulevard must demonstrate before an examining board his skill in dodging, leaping, crawling, and extricating himself from machinery.

Rule 9—Pedestrians will be held responsible for all damage done to automobiles or their occupants by collision.


Accidents are Caused by Careless Driving - Speed but a Small Factor

EDITORS NOTE: This section is written by an automobile manufacturer which produces fast cars, therefore it could be written with bias. It does however claim that safer automobiles are being built.


What are the factors which make a motor car safe?

This is a question on which motorists are beginning to agree, although there has been a great deal of discussion regarding it during the past years.

In the first place, is speed a danger or a safety factor?

At first blush, one would be inclined to say “danger,” but V. E. Stalnaker, vice-president and director of sales of the Pathfinder company, makes the startling statement that speed is one of the most pronounced contributors to safety that a motor car possesses, providing, always, that other essential conditions are right.

Stalnaker cites, for example, the number of accidents in motor car racing when motors were slow, as compared to the comparative freedom from accidents in the recent high-speed events, where the time ran higher than one hundred miles per hour.

“I do not mean that this tremendous speed would not have been extremely hazardous when cars were built poorly, but with modern construction, which is designed with speed constantly in mind, the element of speed has very little awe for the average spectator or participant.”

The old-fashioned, narrow-gauge trains would have flown, off the track at one-half the speed which today’s transcontinental trains make, every hour with utter impunity.

The railway has not run away from the motor car in the development of safety devices. While the motor car has a great deal harder conditions to combat than does the railway, it has met them quite successfully. It does not take much of an imagination to see that a motor car with the give and take roads beneath it, functioning under all kinds of conditions, has a great deal more to do when it comes to maintaining its course safely, than has the railroad train with its perfectly true and unyielding steel track and heavily ballasted roadbed.

Then, too, there is not the matter of soft, resilient pneumatic tires to contend with in the case of the railway train. The tire maker has done as much to make motoring safe as any one.

Then comes the spring maker, and the high-grade specialist who is responsible for the little steering knuckles, which dare not give way. You seldom hear of a broken steering knuckle these days—it used to be quite common.


But while you are enumerating the parts makers who have contributed to safety, don’t forget the man who makes the motor itself.

A wild, unbalanced motor is one of the most dangerous things that might enter into the construction of a motor car. It will rack a car from rear to front. It will work on every bolt and loosen it in spite of fate and high water. There is nothing which weakens a motor car throughout its whole chassis so much as a vibrant and poorly balanced power plant.

Vibration has been the anti-safety influence which all engineers have been striving to conquer. And the battle was won when the multiple cylinder motor attained a state of perfection.

I am of the opinion that the height of smoothness has been attained in the present valve-in-head twelve cylinder power plant. The inter-explosion lapse which has made motors vibrant has, in the good twelve, been entirely eliminated. And the extra strength which a twelve cylinder valve-in-head power plant calls for throughout the rest of the chassis makes a car built along these lines as safe as a car can be.

The Pathfinder Company, of Indianapolis, is now turning out quantities of the new twelve, “Pathfinder the Great.” Dealers are being supplied with demonstrators rapidly and in a very short time “Pathfinder the Great” will be known in every town in the country. It is a car, it is said, that has attracted wide attention wherever it has gone as a result of its unprecedented hill-climbing power and general road ability.

The Pathfinder Company has recently enlarged its financial and factory resources in anticipation of the demand for “Pathfinder the Great.”

Pathfinder the “Great,” King of Twelves. The family equipage is as true an index of culture and taste as the home itself. When Pathfinder the Great rule the garage the family is usually well worth knowing. Seven Passenger Touring Car, $2750. The Pathfinder Company Indianapolis, U. S. A.

WARNING! Static Electricity Easily Generated.

Warning against an interesting as well as dangerous cause of conflagration in a garage is sent out by the school of automobile mechanics of the Highland Park College of Engineering, Des Moines. An experience in the shops there developed how much danger is involved.

The engine in an automobile was connected by a belt with an overhead shaft by which it was run. The tires were on the car which insulated it, and the friction of the belt generated electricity. A student passing the car leaped high in the air when a spark jumped from a mud guard into his leg. Experiments showed that it was easy to get sparks half an inch long from any part of the automobile.

The gasoline can carried past the car and coming within a half-inch of a hub or fender would have been ignited by the electric spark.

Where automobile motors are propelled by belt, a wire should be carried from some convenient part of the car to a water pipe or other ground connection to carry off the electricity generated. In all cases great care should be used not to carry gasoline cans near such cars while the belt is in use.

Only five to ten minutes were required to get a fat spark after the car had been discharged, and a number of sparks can be obtained after the belt connection has run that length of time.



The police have announced they will strictly enforce the new dimmer ordinance which went into effect April 1st. So far six arrests have been made. The violators of the ordinance gave the excuse that they did not understand the law. For the benefit of members of the state association who did not receive the December Motorist, we are reprinting, herewith, the Indianapolis Dimmer Ordinance. It reads as follows:

Be it ordained by the common council of the city of Indianapolis:

Section 1. That any headlight displayed on any motor vehicle or motor bicycle shall be so constructed, equipped and operated that the reflected rays therefrom shall not rise higher than a line extended drawn parallel with and forty-two inches above the surface of the road on which such vehicle or bicycle may be standing or moving.

Section 2. The owner, operator or person in charge of any motor vehicle or motor bicycle who shall operate, drive or stand such motor vehicle or motor bicycle upon any street, alley or other public place in this city with a headlight lighted during the period when lamps are required by law to be lighted on such vehicles,

. . . with such headlight not constructed, equipped and operated as provided in the next preceding section, shall, upon conviction, be fined not less than five dollars nor more than two hundred dollars for the first offense.

Upon conviction of a second offense such person shall be fined in any sum not less than fifteen dollars nor more than two hundred dollars.

Upon conviction of a third or subsequent offense such person shall be fined in any sum not less than twenty-five dollars nor more than two hundred dollars, to which may be added imprisonment in the county jail, workhouse or on the Indiana state farm for a term not exceeding thirty days.



Hinged lamp brackets that render It possible to deflect the headlight rays to the ground immediately in front of the car, at the will of the driver, is the idea incorporated in the Deflex adjustable headlight deflector offered by the Universal Auto Parts Co., Chicago, Ill.

The device is intended to be used when one car is approaching another at night or to lessen lights on city streets. By a slight movement of a small lever located on the steering column, all of the light from the headlights is concentrated immediately in front of the car so that the driver of a car coming in the opposite direction is not dazzled.

Deflex consists of a pair of hinged brackets, automatically operated by powerful, enclosed springs. From the lamp bracket, a cable runs under the hood and up the steering column. A slight pull on the end of the cable tilts the headlights and deflects the light on the road directly in front of the car.

The price of the outfit complete is $7.50, and it may be installed in a few minutes.

Scene One: Over the road you fly with full lights straight ahead—when you have “Deflex.”
Scene Two: To pass a car, you deflect your full lights to the ground before you—when you have “Deflex.”
Scene Three: Safely by, a button pressed makes full lights spring to horizontal—when you have “Deflex.”


Every day the press chronicles the death or serious injury of a driver or member of an automobile party due to a reckless attempt to cross a railroad track ahead of a flying express train.

In 1915 1,088 lives were lost in grade-crossing accidents from this cause alone.

To impress upon automobilists the utter senselessness of accidents of this kind and to minimize the number, the passenger department of the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad has gotten out a note of warning, calling upon drivers to “Take No Chances at All” and to “Stop, Look and Listen.”

This is being displayed in public and private garages and auto repair shops and is being distributed among owners and chauffeurs in the cities located along that line in Colorado, Utah and New Mexico.

The campaign of education being carried on by the Rio Grande is worthy of emulation by other rail lines.


(Public Service Announcement, Hoosier Motorist magazine.)

You may not care for the safety of others—

You may not care for the safety of your wife or children—

You may not care for your personal safety—

But you must OBEY THE LAW!

The police are vigorously enforcing the Indianapolis dimmer ordinance.

How many times have you been forced to wait at the side of the road while the “ROAD HOG” passed whose car was equipped with glaring headlights?

If there is no law against the use of glaring headlights in your city you should take immediate steps, through your local Motor Club, to see that your Common Council enacts a Dimmer Ordinance.

If your city has a Dimmer Ordinance urge your police to enforce it.

GLARING HEADLICHTS ARE DANCEROUS not only in the city but in the country and there should be a State law prohibiting their use.

The Indiana General Assembly meets next year—Vote for Candidates to the Next General Assembly Who Are in Favor of a State Dimmer Law.

OBEY THE LAW with Deflex Adjustable Headlight Deflector On Your Car. For a little free booklet and other interesting literature, address: The Universal Auto Parts Co. 1251 Michigan Ave. Chicago, Ill.
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