That there is a definite reason for the increase in sudden deaths we all feel sure-and the number of men who drop dead who have not complained of any feelings of illness-the diagnosis is usually “heart”-the warnings in the daily papers to the middle- aged and elderly men to have their hearts examined before they start golf in acknowledgment of what is now known as gold suicide, is a step in the right direction, but it is not enough. Everyone who drives a car is more or less in danger of sudden death from his own mental attitude toward his own driving-his tension being the danger.
We all recognize our personal variant of tension-our condition of the moment causing a greater or less elasticity of attitude toward our occupation-when we begin to drive when overtired we feel the adjustment to our task more difficult than we start to drive after a long and refreshing sleep-then tension is at its slightest and the settling in to the guiding of our car, simplest and most pleasing.
Study a driver during a day on a run of over a hundred miles.
The Start is always later than he wishes (a depressant to begin with); he gets behind his wheel and throws out a mental tentacle to the end of his known journey-making a known tension- he tries to tune in with his cars engine in a way no human organism was ever meant to do! There is a strain on the solar plexus-there is an increasing tension in the brain and on the heart as the day wears on; the greater the miles per hour the greater the strain-the nerves grow jumpy, speech grows irritable when indulged in, the pleasure of driving grows less and less and the end of the journey is the one goal in sight.
There is no real pleasure to the driver nor to the passengers who become affected by the atmosphere of the guiding spirit-tension is communicated to everyone and felt in proportion to the degree of receptivity of the different individuals.
The fewer intervals of rest along the way, the greater the tension and the longer it will take to recover from the nerve strain-I have known drivers to be lame to touch all over the solar plexus after a long drive-and too tired to digest a normal meal-the food staying in an inert mass and having to be digested by hand (massage of stomach and intestines); this must often happen when no one is at hand to diagnose the condition or give relief-and the ensuing end can be crowding of gas on the tired heart and the sudden leaving of this world!.
The more continuous long drives are, the less resistance to tension.
Study the faces of the chauffeurs-study their attitude toward life-their irritability and how they try to relax.
As I see the problem-drivers who wish to last, must learn to stop driving on long drives, at reasonable periods-get out of the car-rest their heads and eyes-rest their nerve centres-take long breaths-lie flat on the earth when possible-closing the eyes and so strain themselves that they can sleep for a quarter of an hour-thus perfectly relaxing and resting all nerve and muscle strain-eyes, brain, body-everyone in a car should get our every thirtyfive miles-and relax.
Speed demons will laugh at this, but its the truth! We cannot make our perishable bodies work with the same kind of tension proper and usual in machines, we cannot continue to tune in with the hum of our motors and expect to go on living in this world, well and happy.
To live, we must learn to relax at proper intervals, to go without meals when we are too tired to digest and to eat easily- assimilated food when on long motor trips-no stuffing our tired stomachs-no speeding with only the end of the trip in sight.
Drive with only thirty-five-mile intervals in mind and an interest in the passing scene-a reasonable mileage and a reasonable mind.
Avoid tension if you love this life-it is only another word for sudden death-and try to drive without tension.
How many of my readers have been studying this subject? Look into it carefully.