According to the current Global statistics, over 1.3 million deaths occur per year, and around 20-50 million people are left injured or disabled due to road accidents. But, can we think back to the time when the first ever car accident took place? We cannot imagine our lives without automobiles today, but back then, having a car was a privilege not many had! The first car accident happened around 300 years ago.
Although the first car which was invented never looked like the modern cars you see today, it was barely a carriage that could carry people. Nicholas Joseph Cugnot created it in 1771. He is claimed to be the first man who invented the ‘first ever self-propelled mechanical vehicle’ which can carry people. But, the first car was designed by Father Ferdinand Verbiest.
A vehicle or a toy?
He had nothing to do with developing a vehicle; he was merely looking for a toy for the Chinese Emperor. In the end, he built a car that was too small to carry people. So, the credits of creating the first automobile in which you can ride go to Cugnot.
Later in 1769, Cugnot designed an automobile which was a prototype to showcase in front of the Emperor. It was capable of carrying ammunition and wagons for the military. However, in 1771, Cugnot came up with a design in which actual people can ride. He invited several French officials to join him in a test ride. Unfortunately, the vehicle lost control and collided with some garden wall. But, reportedly no significant harms were caused due to this accident.
First accident by an automobile!
Coming 98 years from that time, in 1869, another accident took place which is documented as the first reported automobile accident. In the city of Ireland, Mary Ward, a scientist, and writer unluckily became the first person to be killed by an automobile. Mary and her three friends were enjoying a ride when the carriage got a sudden bump and Mary was thrown out and came under one of the carriage’s wheel and got killed instantly.
Then, later in 1891, another fatal accident took place on the lands of America. It took place in Ohio and it involved the legend of automobiles John William Lambert. He was traveling along with James Swoveland when their car hit a tree root resulting in losing control over the vehicle. There were no major injuries caused during this smash. But, this accident caused Lambert to make around 600+ inventions in the automobile industry including that of a power steering wheel.