New technology has often been risky. Consider the 1865 Red Flag Act in the U.K. that required all self-propelled motor vehicles to travel at a maximum of 2 mph in towns, and to carry at least three people – one of whom was required to walk ahead of the vehicle with a red flag to warn pedestrians and horse-drawn traffic.
This caution was necessary because cars were so unfamiliar to the majority of road users – except for those we’d now call the “early adopters” of automotive technology. When cars were first introduced, there was no shared understanding of the rules of the road (or highway code) to help guide people on how they should behave. And so avoidable accidents happened frequently. Continue reading