This article presents an Infocult-ish look at American car culture. It starts off by referring to cars as "murder machines", then romps through automotive death in all kinds of fascinating ways.
Some people were terrified of cars and their death-dealing powers:
Notes one scholar:
“If you look at newspapers from American cities in the 1910s and ’20s, you’ll find a lot of anger at cars and drivers... My impression is that you’d find more caricatures of the Grim Reaper driving a car over innocent children than you would images of Uncle Sam.”
Joy riding came in for particularly Gothic attention:
the term [joyriding] spread to all types of automobile drivers, along with pejoratives like “vampire driver” or “death driver.” Political cartoons featured violent imagery of so-called “speed demons” murdering innocents as they plowed through city streets in their uncontrollable vehicles.
Other editorials accused drivers of being afflicted with “motor madness” or “motor rabies,” which implied an addiction to speed at the expense of human life.
Drivers and automotive companies apparently fought back by demonizing pedestrians, or at least using terror and shame to get walkers to stay away from cars. Naturally clowns were involved:
They even had a parade where a clown was hit by a Model T over and over again in front of the crowd.
(Now there's a nightmare!)
Although drinking and driving wasn't effectively opposed until the late 20th century, there are some examples of dreadful art on that topic from the earlier decades:
Dig into the article for more horror.
(thanks to Steven "the new driver" Kaye)