Friday, October 7, 2016

Out on Road After Dark in Wagon or Buggy? Be Safe With Acetylene Lamps Front and Back, 1924

“Lights on Horse Vehicles,” from the editorial page of the Friday, October 31, 1924, issue of The Pilot, Vass, N.C.

W.H. McNeill of Lakeview said the other day that he would not have the courage to drive a wagon and horses along the country road at night these days without a light on his vehicle and he further ventured that any man driving a team on the road after dark would find it far more comforting to have a light on both front and rear of wagon or buggy than to take the chances of plumes and flowers on the carriage the day after.

Some day some influential farmer who drives occasionally at night will go into the store and ask for a couple of the little acetylene lamps that miners carry in their caps under the ground to furnish light while they work in the dark, and that farmer will put a bright light in front of his wagon, and a red light on the rear at the cost of a few dollars, and he will be safe from collision when he is out on the road. And when he sets the example others will follow, for to drive the roads with wagons without a light is next thing to suicide.

The wagon driver may think the automobile light is enough to make him safe, but it is not. The automobile driver certainly does not want to hit a wagon, for leaving out his unwillingness to hurt the wagon and its driver it is always a grave danger of harm to the automobile. Therefore the driver of the automobile is constantly looking into the dark ahead of him to make sure he is not approaching or overtaking a horse-drawn vehicle, and some times he is, and bumps it before his light is effective.

The wagon driver puts himself in the safety zone if he hangs out a light, and in no other way can he be safe. It is not conferring a favor on the automobile driver to carry a light, but it is making the wagon driver safe. Yet even if it did no more than to make the car driver safe a light on the wagon would be justified, for the car carries a light to help make the road safe for all other travelers and a wagon is no more justified in making the road dangerous than a car is. Small acetylene lamps that will burn several hours for two or three cents in fuel can be had at the supply stores, and ought to be on every wagon and buggy that travels the roads. Lamps are cheaper than funerals, and so much more enjoyable to the friends and relatives. Even an ordinary oil lamp hung on the front of the wagon is better than the crepe tied on the next day. Anybody who wants to can win the prize for starting this fashion. Go to it right now.

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