My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

Text Size: Small Text Normal Text Large Text Larger Text

On Monday I went to the Wildenstein Galleries to see Mr. Chandor's portrait of Queen Elizabeth II. I had only a few minutes, but I was most anxious to get a first impression of this portrait which will hang in the Embassy in Washington. Mr. Chandor had wanted for some time to make a portrait of the young Queen and I am particularly happy that he was able to do it before he died. I think the portrait is one of his real masterpieces. He has achieved the look of dignity and royalty and still the woman, gentle, a little shy, but full of purpose and character shines through the outer trappings. I wish Mrs. Chandor could have been at the first exhibition of this portrait for I am sure that she contributed greatly to the success that was achieved. She never seemed to prod her husband but somehow or other, her ideas were always a part of the work which was finally put on canvas.

I've just received a little reminder which comes every year from Mr. Harris, the Executive Director of the American Association of Motor Vehicles. As good weather approaches his mind turns automatically to safety on the highway, or perhaps I should say to danger on the highway. He knows that in summer people take their annual vacations. If we have reasonably good weather they are going to use their car to travel and that will mean that the highways will be crowded far beyond the safety limit. In 1952, 37,500 people died in motor accidents and 1,300,000 were injured. Mr. Harris thinks that the American motorist has learned two things, namely, he realizes that his car should be gone over and mechanical deficiencies should not be allowed to occur. The human element, however, is always present in the operation of a machine and Mr. Harris think that the driver is often the real danger on the highways. He says that the U.S. Army made a study recently of 348 accidents involving non-military vehicles. The study showed that fatigue is responsible for 36.8 percent of the accidents. The Army put on a campaign to reduce the fatigue hazard. Every two hours the regulations require drivers to halt for ten minutes and to have a cup of coffee or other non-alcoholic, anti-fatigue beverage. As a result there had been a 34 percent reduction in Army accidents in this past calendar year as against an increase in the civilian rate. The other Army regulations are:

  • 1– Keep the windows of the vehicles open—breathe deeply.
  • 2– If drowsiness sets in, stop vehicle, get out, and exercise briskly. When possible, change drivers every two hours.

Most importantly of all, if a driver finds himself too tired or sleepy to continue, he must pull off the road and rest until he feels fit to continue.

The American Association of Motor Vehicles also says, "It's dangerous to drive at any speed when fatigued. At high speeds, it is suicide." The idea of gaining a day while vacationing by driving a tremendous number of miles to reach one's destination is a mistake. People should never drive when they are tired and we all know that getting off for a vacation means extra work at home the night before. The Association insists that the man who drives two hundred or three hundred miles without stopping is risking his life and the lives of others. Now I've told what they believe and I hope you will bear it in mind.

E.R.
TMs, AERP, FDRL