My father used to tell me women couldn’t drive, and that was that. Dad doesn’t think in those black and white terms anymore, and probably most people don’t either. But if pressed, I bet most guys would still say they have an edge over the opposite sex behind the wheel. However, a new study shows they just may be wrong. At least in one area of driving.
Sexes compete in the parking lot
According to a recent study commissioned by British parking lot company National Car Park, women may take the prize away from the guys when it comes to parking. The study used a scoring system to gauge the duration, accuracy and technique of 2,500 drivers parking their vehicles in 700 different lots — or “car parks” — across Great Britain. In the end, the women scored 13.4 our of 20, while the men lagged behind with just 12.3.
The study was designed by Neil Beeson, a driving instructor featured in the documentary film “Last Chance Driving School.” Beeson was not too proud to admit that he had his preconceived notions dispelled.
“I was quite surprised by the results, because in my experience men have always been the best learners and usually performed better in lessons.”
Men are speedy
Men are faster but lack finesse, the study showed. Men take an average of 16 seconds to park, whereas women take about 21. But women, taking their time, end up well-aligned between the white lines about half of the time. Men do so only about a quarter of the time.
Psychological factors were also at play. Men, more impatient and more easily frustrated, tended to miss seeing open parking spots that women found. Also, if a male driver has a female passenger, he will often “pose park,” or show off his prowess by squeezing into the tightest space available.
‘Give our partners more respect’
In the end, it seems that cooler heads prevail in the parking lot. Beeson agreed:
“It’s possible that women have retained the information better. The results also appear to dispel the myth that men have better spatial awareness than women. … It shows that us men need to give our partners more respect when it comes to parking. The facts don’t lie.”