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When did the first car crash happen?

If you want to know when and where the first car accident happened, you need to figure out what you mean by the word "car." Does a steam-powered vehicle put together by the cousins of an Irish scientist named Mary Ward count? If that's the case, then the first car crash happened in 1896 and it was tragic. Mary fell out of her seat while the vehicle was in motion, and the car drove over the top of her and killed her instantly.

Or, would you prefer we cite statistics on the first crash that involved a gas-powered vehicle? If that's the case, then the first car wreck happened in Ohio City, Ohio, in 1891. An engineer, James Lambert, took his new automobile out for a spin when he hit a tree root causing him to lose control and crash into a post. Fortunately, neither Lambert nor his passenger were seriously hurt.

What about the first driver to die in a collision? Well, in 1998, a very unlucky father and son were driving from Brighton, England, to London. Not far from their destination, the father lost control of the vehicle. They flew down a hill and smashed into a fence. The driver fell out of the driver's seat and his leg was crushed against a tree. Perhaps in modern medical times, the injury would not have been fatal, but back then, doctors operated a little differently. They decided to amputate the man's leg, but he never woke up after surgery and died the next day.

As you can see, car crashes have been happening as long as cars have been around. Even then, there were probably questions of fault and liability. Fortunately, these days, people hurt in car wrecks can seek financial damages in civil court from the parties whose negligence caused the accidents to occur.

Source: Mental Floss, "When and Where Was the First Car Accident?," Matt Soniak, accessed Feb. 12, 2016

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