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A-B-C of automobile driving ...

by A Hyatt Verrill

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Foreword to the 1916 Edition   (2009-08-30)


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Copyright. 1916, by Harper & Brothers

Printed in the United States of America

Published April, 1916



Chap.                                                                                                               Page

FOREWORD............     vii

I.         SAFETY FIRST...........       1

II.       MASTERING THE CAR........     14

III.      FIRST STEPS...........     36

IV.      LEARNING TO DRIVE........     51

V.        DRIVING IN TRAFFIC........     70

VI.      PERILS OP THE MOTOR-CAR......     90

VII.    OBEYING THE LAW.........    113




THE object of this book is twofold: first, to teach beginners how to manage an automobile; and, second, to show those who know how to operate a car the proper way to drive in order to minimize the danger of accidents.

There is a vast difference between "running" a car and driving it properly. The first consists of merely following out a certain series of movements or actions which cause the car to stop, start, slow down, speed up, reverse, or turn to right and left as desired; but to drive—in the full sense of the term— one must combine intelligence, judgment, skill, foresight, and a perfect synchronism of mind, eye, hand, and foot, together with a fair amount of mechanical skill and knowledge. All this may be acquired by practice; but it is far easier to learn with the aid and experience of others, and there is less likelihood of accidents occurring while skill is being acquired.

Of course a book of this scope and size must deal largely with generalities. There are so many types of cars in use, such a variety of clutches, gear-shifts, motors, and other mechanical details, that it is impossible to describe, or even mention, each separately.

This book is not intended as a treatise1 on the mechanics of the automobile, nor as a guide for those who desire to repair, adjust, or overhaul the motor or the car. Mechanical matters and details of motor-car construction are only mentioned or described where they have a direct and important bearing upon driving, or where a knowledge of them is essential when learning to drive.

It is to serve as a primer for automobile-drivers that this book has been prepared, and if it results in a wider and better knowledge of driving, the prevention of accidents, or the saving of a single human life, its purpose will have been accomplished.

A. H. V.

In his autobiography, Never a Dull Moment, Verrill says

"THE A.B.C. OF AUTOMOBILE DRIVING was later translated into Japanese and used as an instruction book for the Mikado’s Army."


1 The reader who desires to inform himself upon the mechanical theory and practice of the automobile may be referred to Harper's Gasoline Engine Book, by A. Hyatt Verrill. Published by Harper & Brothers. 291 pp. and many illustrations.


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