Reckless Risk

First Super Speedway loves the in-period editorial cartoons. This one is from the August 27, 1909, Indianapolis News and, like many, it appeared on the front page. Cars in the day were high technology not entirely unlike personal computers 70 years later or the networked world of apps and mobile IT devices we have today. Many of the early adopters of the automobile were wealthy people and hired chauffeurs who maintained and drove their cars. Age was a factor in embracing the new capabilities of cars as younger people, more so than their elder generation, adapted to the new machines.
In this editorial cartoon, we find perhaps a public service message as the cartoonist admonishes drivers to be safe and understand the hazards of distraction - such as your cute female companion. The joke is how many time "users" of the product blame failures of the technology (defective steering gear) in concealing their reckless behavior. I also want to note that on the left side of the image we see that the errant car, after jumping the curb, is about to collide with a hitching post for horses. The creator may have wanted to make a statement about the ongoing tension between the proponents of the new age of individual mechanized travel and those who clung to feature of the conventional customs. Who knows? Either way, it is interesting.
Note, too, that this safety commentary was in the wake of the tragic first auto racing weekend of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Coincidence? Maybe, but our guess is that this is more evidence that the carnage of those first races still weighed on the minds of the general population in the Hoosier Capital.

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