One in Three Men Fear Female Drivers

We went into Edmonton Thursday night to see Doug Stanhope at New City.

Due to the continuing medical restrictions on Rob’s activities, I drove, which makes for tense travel under optimal conditions, but as I was driving his vehicle instead of my Avalanche and negotiating an area of the city I’ve never driven, it was particular fun.

And by “fun”, I mean not in the least bit.

Earlier in the day I caught the tail end of a conversation between two of the NOW radio deejays about a recent survey on men’s perceptions of female driving. The female they live with specifically. The results revealed that one in three actually feared for their safety, if not lives, when their women were behind the wheel.

The survey included 3,000 men and in addition to their uncontrollable fright, they shared the following hard to completely believe tidbits:

  • 1 in 10 has grabbed the wheel to prevent an accident
  • 1 in 5 find it impossible to fully relax
  • nearly all considered their driving abilities superior
  • 1 in 5 couples have argued over her driving skills
  • 1 in 10 men have asked their wives to pull over so they can drive

What specifically do men object to or feel may contribute to their premature death and/or dismemberment?

They believe that women don’t concentrate and are easily distracted from the task of driving by … everything. They also are sure that they possess a superior ability to assess conditions and react in a more timely manner.

And what are women drivers’ chief offenses?

TOP TEN COMPLAINTS ABOUT WOMEN’S DRIVING

1. Lack of concentration

2. Braking too late

3. Flicking the accelerator

4. Not avoiding rumble strips

5. Getting too close to other cars

6. Braking too hard

7. Fiddling with the stereo

8. Failure to indicate

9. Going too fast

10. Sticking in the middle lane

Four and ten I found particularly ridiculous.

I have never encountered a rumble strip that it was possible to avoid without driving on the shoulder, which in Alberta – don’t exist generally – and back in Iowa were gravel.

And the middle lane? That I don’t get. On the interstate I drove regularly back in the commuter days, the far right lane was for exiting and entrancing. People who rode that lane basically gummed up the works, making it harder to get on and impossible to exit during rush hour because no one will let you in as they inch towards work or home.

The far left was considered the “fast lane” though how there can be such a thing when the maximum speed limit is the same regardless of lane, I never understood.

What I discovered is that no matter what lane you are in, somebody – usually a guy – will get cheesed off because … he has entitlement issues and/or disillusions of superior driving skills.

I’ve had two husbands now (and a father), who have all held my driving skills in low esteem, and I’ll admit that I don’t/didn’t drive well with any one of them riding shotgun – mostly because I know I am being evaluated and found wanting, which unsurprisingly makes the whole driving process even more joyless.

In the Jalopnik article referring to the poll, one of the commenters made an excellent point. Driving skill is often related to the level of love the driver holds for driving.

Certainly I have rarely loved driving.

Rob regards it as a game and began driving at age eleven. At one point he drove semi when he was working the oil fields and driving was part of his job later on as a field operator.

My late husband took great pride in his ability to drive and his vehicles and was devastated when his illness effectively grounded him. Before he lost his sight however, he drove a cube van on a delivery route.

My father (and my mother too) grew up on a farm. He mastered all modes of transport at a young age and during his years after being discharged from the Navy in the late forties, road-tripped with his brother all over the west.

Since first getting my license, an arduous process that involved put myself under the microscope of my father to a point where I would actively avoid opportunities to practice driving, I was a chauffeur.

First among my friends with a license and liberal access to wheels, I ferried us about on weekends and over the summer. My new skill freed my parents to dump as many of their transportation duties on me as they could get away with as I became a taxi service for my siblings.

In university though I lived a blissful three years without driving, bumming rides if I needed them but mainly walking. I avoided even the college transit system for the most part. But student teaching and living off campus eventually put an end to my carefree days and when I moved away for my first teaching job to a city where cars were a necessary evil, I spent the next decade or so commuting with the masses.

Driving has always been a task. No different from recycling and or mowing the lawn. I happily abandon the driver’s seat to anyone who wants it more, so I think the “love of driving” comment makes a lot of sense.

Rob isn’t allowed to drive for another three weeks. Precaution and also provincial regulation. Not any different in the states really. Will’s best friend’s wife is an epileptic and she was forever being put on driving restrictions after seizures though she seldom abided by them for long.

The ride home after Doug Stanhope (which was an experience) was a bit harrowing. I am very light-sensitive. Headlights dang near blind me – more now than when I was younger though. So between the glare, the rain and the unfamiliar dash, I white-knuckled to the point where Rob suggested that I pull over and let him drive.

When we got home, I switched back to my truck to drive the babysitter home and all was well again, and a lesson was learned by all.

Well, I learned a lesson at any rate – and I made an appointment with the eye doctor. According to Rob you can get tinted glasses to deal with glare for night driving, who knew? I’ve been complaining to eye docs for years about the glare and halo effect I get at night*.

Heart attacks are growth experiences even when you didn’t have one yourself.

* No, I don’t have glaucoma. My pressure is fine. I have always seen halos and am just incredibly photosensitive. It’s worse at night only because the general darkness means my pupil is open wider and reacts more strongly to the spotlight effect of headlights and sudden changes from very dark to bright lights.

4 responses to “One in Three Men Fear Female Drivers

  1. I also love to drive. We travel by car a lot and I usually do most of the driving while my husband reads or naps. My husband isn’t a bad driver (perfect traffic record) but he does make me nervous, especially in heavy traffic, when he can be a bit too competitive for my taste. I do not like it when visibility is bad, like torrential rain or white-out blizzard. I’m also not sure why it’s a gender thing although thinking back to when my kids were young, there were a fair number of other mothers I didn’t like to ride with, mainly because they did not focus. That’s just a random observation though.

  2. I love to drive. My husband drives a lot for work. I’m more nervous in the car when he’s driving than he is when I drive. For me, it’s a control issue. Need to work on that.

  3. not entirely sure this is a gender thing, but it sure gets painted that way a lot. i agree that ‘love of driving’ is a far more important factor than anything else. i love it, to the point i’m likely to go to the BMW driving school in South Carolina for a holiday one of these days.

    i am also quite fussy about who i ride with. on business trips, with multiple travelers? i pull rank, rent the car and drive. my ex-husbands driving made me crazy, although i kept my mouth shut and tried to sleep when we were on long road trips – mostly dealing with it by volunteering to drive more often.

    for me? it’s control. pure and simple. i suspect that’s what drove most of the answers on that list…

    hope the eye doc can help find a solution that at least helps with the night driving.

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