Louis Anslow:

With all the anxiety around driverless cars lately, it’s worth remembering there was a time people worried about cars exactly because they had human drivers. In fact, it was the removal of the horses—the horseless carriage—that gave some people fits.

In the 1890s, the prospect of a person driving without the aid of a second intelligence was a real concern. A horse, or team of horses, acted as a crude form of cruise control and collision aversion.

In 1896 Alfred Sennett warned, “We should not overlook the fact that the driving of a horseless carriage calls for a larger amount of attention for he has not the advantage of the intelligence of the horse in shaping his path, and it is consequently incumbent upon him to be ever watchful of the course his vehicle is taking.”

Distracted driving is the number one cause of accidents today, so maybe it wasn’t a bad point. Although he was forgetting automobiles actually had brakes, unlike a horse and cart—and they didn’t scare.