Thursday, January 5, 2017

Advice for Drivers From Dorothy Levitt

Levitt’s story is proof that women were in auto racing almost from the start, and she has some ideas for other drivers.
     Dress well. If your car is closed-in, wear whatever you like because “the conditions are precisely the same as being in a carriage.” But if you’re driving an open car, “neatness and comfort are essential.” In general, racing goggles or masks aren’t necessary, she said, but shoes are better than tight-laced boots and high stockings should be worn in winter. As for a dress, well, any old thing will do. But “under no circumstances wear lace or ‘fluffy’ adjuncts to your toilette—if you do, you will regret them before you have driven half a dozen miles.” Make sure to wear a round cap or “close-fitting turban of fur” that fits you well, and tie a veil over it, to protect your hair and keep your hat in place. Don’t forget your scarf and gloves.
  Stock your glove compartment, which you’ll find under the seat. “This little drawer is the secret of the dainty motoriste.” Here is Levitt’s list of indispensable items: “a pair of clean gloves, an extra handkerchief, clean veil, powder-puff (unless you despise them), hair-pins and ordinary pins, a hand mirror—and some chocolates are very soothing, sometimes!” She recommended keeping your hand mirror close to you, as you may wish to look behind you while driving and can use it to do so.
  Don’t forget your gun. Although Levitt, an experienced hunter, wrote that she never had to use hers, “it is nevertheless a comfort to know that should the occasion arise I have the means of defending myself.” She recommended an automatic Colt, or, should you be disinclined towards firearms, a dog.
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