When women drive

I admit that I am not a skilled driver. I’m a creative-type person and I try to convince my husband that my driving is a reflection of my creativity, but that just makes him question his choice in a spouse even more.

Men are more known for reckless and careless driving as teenagers, but they eventually outgrow it. It’s the exact opposite for female drivers: super cautious as a teen, then dubbed crazy drivers as they supposedly mature. I’ve learned from personal experience that I am not alone in this stereotype.

I’ve ridden with other women whom I’m certain drove much worse than I do, but I have extensive experience with passenger hysteria while I drive. It doesn’t help that my husband also educates me by using his master’s in driver critiquing.

Many women besides me suffer from Dog Distraction Syndrome. This is behavior like that of a dog that knows the rules of walking with his or her person in public places and can follow the rules, yet becomes easily distracted by something that’s interesting or built into his or her DNA to go after, which overrides the rules: birds, squirrels, rabbits and barn cats for example.

The woman equivalent is her purse —specifically the purse’s contents and whatever she’s looking for in there or needs to confirm she has. Other distractions could be coffee, in-depth conversations, seeing a yard sale sign or checking her makeup.

If a woman isn’t sure whether her driving is scary, she can look for signs in her passengers to reveal the truth. The most accurate indicators will come from her husband.

Despite not feeling safe in a vehicle while his wife is driving, he does feel safe being himself with her, which often includes being bluntly honest about her driving.

One indicator is if a passenger who normally sleeps in the car won’t shut his or her eyes to take a nap. Apparently I have “jerky steering,” which is too distracting for restful car napping. If your young adult children get car sick only when you are the driver, you might have poor driving skills.

Another sign is a passenger who’s notorious for having to be reminded to buckle up but immediately puts on a seatbelt when you are driving. In fact, isn’t it interesting that once women started driving more, seatbelts were invented, used regularly, then became a law?

Additionally, a normally talkative passenger who is suddenly speechless while riding with you or talks in broken sentences as if distracted by fear could be an indication of a low level of driving finesse.

There are also some simple self-assessment driving tests that ladies can do. One is to observe the automotive version of a plumb bob — a dangly object that hangs from the rearview mirror.

If it’s swaying erratically, there’s no denying its cause. Take coffee without a lid; the extent of sloshing is a telltale sign of driver adeptness. If dog passengers cannot keep their balance or jump out of the back of the pickup, your driving skills probably could use some work.

Sadly, having exceptional driving skills is not high on many women’s priority list, but it’s still needed, so they do the minimum. It’s a lot like men washing delicates or handling childcare duties alone.

They’re capable of it, but they aren’t going to be as attentive to detail. Attentive driving takes away from women’s other skills and details: talking with hand gestures, enjoying morning coffee and being alert to bargains and sales.

I’ve found there is one positive that comes from being labeled a scary woman driver: Someone else always will offer to drive.



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