3 Dec 2013

Women Drivers From A Man's Perspective

Women drivers.  The butt of many a joke and snide comment: women can't drive, women can't park, women drive too slowly, women drivers lack confidence.  Blah blah blah.  Ask any man his opinion on women drivers and he'll have one.

I love this quote from Cora Schumacher back in 2004, when speaking about her husband, Ralf:

"He's had many small accidents, especially when he gets in or out of a parking space. Ralf is creating the kind of accidents that we usually associate with women."

As well as pointing out that even a male F1 driver can be a poor driver on the road Cora compounded the widely held belief that women can't drive properly.

The belief that women are inferior drivers is aired frequently in forums, YouTube comments and anywhere the male online commentator can spout it.  I've heard many men say it and seen it in print in respected publications.

From my own experience and perspective women can drive cars just as well as men can.  My wife drives a 2.5 ton Land Rover and often tows a 1.5 ton horse box with 600kg of live, moving horse inside it.

She's driven a 70 ton quarry haul truck (one of those massive dump trucks) and competed in tractor pulling competitions with her own 1000 bhp tractor.

She can also park better than me.

My grandmother (on my mum's side) drove better than my grandfather, my mum had no confidence issues.  My 21 year old daughter is on her second car (a Golf 1.6) and has never given me cause for concern.  A few years back we used to share a commute and when she drove I'd often fall asleep in the passenger seat.

In short I don't share the opinion that women drivers are poor drivers.  

Men that hold such a belief obviously have issues themselves when it comes to their attitudes to women in general.  This must stem from a lack of confidence when dealing with women which leads them to demean and disrespect the female of the species in order to counter their fears.  That or they're just bullies.

Sure I've seen my fair share of terrible women drivers.  When my son was at primary school a lot of the mums drove SUVs and a lot could not park them properly.

But then again I've seen plenty of terrible driving from men.  If stuck behind some slow moving Honda Jazz or Vauxhall Zafira when I'm eventually able to overtake the driver is just as likely to be an old man with a beard as a woman.

I love it when women compete with men in the highest levels of motorsport, from Michelle Mouton to Danica Patrick.  I think it's a shame that crucial sponsorship cash, which means young drivers can step up the various rungs of the ladder, is often handed out by rich old men who give it to talented young men, rather than talented young women.

I love it when Sabine Schmitz shows up on TV to demonstrate her talent, and show Tiff Needell or Jeremy Clarkson, and the rest of us, that women can be truly great drivers.

I hate to use the word sexism because I abhor political correctness.  I prefer to think that men who believe that women drivers are inferior have a flaw in their character, and are scared of women in general.

Article by Matt Hubbard