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COBWEB CORNERS: A few driving rules

By Mel McFarland

       I have discussed driving here before, but I thought this list I found might be of interest. It was published in the local newspapers in the early summer of 1921, not just for tourists, but for the locals too. The papers wanted the locals to be a good example for the summer visitors.
       The states, counties and cities were still working on their driving rules. In many cities, including Denver and Colorado Springs, it was even proposed to have tourists put special tags on their cars to show that they had been granted the right to drive by the proper rules.
       Here we go. First rule: Observe the speed limits. Fifteen miles an hour in the business district, 10 at intersections and 35 in the rural areas. The basic fine was $25 for the first ticket and a possibility of 30 days in jail for repeaters!
       Other rules Do not pass a streetcar that is putting on or taking off passengers, unless it is at a designated "safe" stop. Dim your headlights near streetcars or when meeting other cars. Turn off your motor when your vehicle is parked.
       There was the "right-hand rule," where the car approaching on the driver's right had the right of way at intersections, with or without stop signs.
       A vehicle was required to have adequate brakes and a horn; a bell or gong to alert anyone if needed; two white lights in the front and a red one in the rear for night operation; another white light to illuminate the number tag; and a drip pan to go under the motor while it was parked.
       Children under 15 were not to drive.
       Cars had to be locked when parked in the open or in a public area. This does not mean what you might think. As I wrote about last November, because the key ignition switch had not been invented yet, a padlock and chain were needed to prevent the vehicle from being stolen.
       Other rules: No driving through a funeral procession or parade. Park as close to the edge of streets as possible, and observe signs posted about areas where you are not to park. Use your arm to signal drivers around you of your intention to turn or stop. Back then the driver was usually out in the open where other drivers could see them!
       Some of these rules are still with us in many forms. Here's the last driving suggestion in the list: "Prevent accidents by observing reasonable speed limits on the country roads as well as on the city streets."

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(Posted 3/2/14; Opinion: Cobweb Corners)