Girl Power

Women Drivers

Lots of my stories will probably start off with the explanation that being a parent changes you. It is true. Being a dad to a little girl is an extra layer for a dad. I see myself every day in a female form and it makes me think about how they will be viewed in the world. How will the world treat them different than I would have been treated? There are definitely moments that bring tears to my eyes.

For instance, we were all watching a super awesome but somehow depressing show called American Ninja Warrior. The contestants run through an obstacle course like magical fitness hamsters and are rewarded for endurance, strength, and being taller than other people. Women are particularly ill-suited for this game because several of the obstacles favor people who are close to six feet tall. One episode we watched a former gymnast, who was five feet nothing, go through the same course as the men and even put a few of them to shame. She was the first woman to complete the curved wall but she continued to beat the course. My girls were watching and they turned to me with wide eyes when it was over and said, “Wow dad! Did you see what that girl did?” I got a little choked up. I did see and it hit me hard that anyone would be amazed by what women are capable of. They are truly amazing creatures and definitely the better half of whatever poor slob they agree to marry.

I hope that my girls grow up with the strong will and determination that will erase any sexist limits to their success. I encourage them to work really hard on the areas where differences can be easily pointed out. Be better than men in these areas so you push the bar the other direction.

For example, areas such as Driving a Car.

Women are just not as good at this one task and the world knows it. They could be I suppose, I just don’t see it. Look at the Allstate commercial where the man and woman are having lunch and he is amazed that she got a reward check for no incidents. Why would they use that situation in a national commercial? Because the world knows that women don’t focus as well at driving? You tell me. Nobody mention Danica Patrick either, she is the Anna Kournikova of racing.

As a group, women don’t seem to plan ahead and prepare for turns, lane changes, or even driving because of texting, talking, or doing makeup. Then they glare and wonder what the other driver is thinking. If you are a woman who is saying, “That is ridiculous and I am a woman and I am the best driver I know!” You are probably my target audience. Women who think they are excellent drivers usually are the worst. It is like being the oddball in a group. Every group has one and if you can’t think of who it is then it is probably you. (Except for my group, I don’t think we have one.)

I’m not talking about all ladies but a good 75% scare the crap out of me. None more so than a few who are near and dear to my heart. There are some differences in men and women that are fundamental and important to understand. Some mechanics of how we operate may explain part of the driving difference.

First let’s consider men. We focus really well on one thing. I don’t mean just one subject but more like whatever has our attention has our full attention. There is no multi-tasking that is worth a damn. If we are watching a football game and the kids are saying, “Daddy, daddy, Daddy, daddyyyyyyy!” We seriously don’t hear it. At. All. I know if I am reading a good book or daydreaming about sandwiches, everything else (all my senses) goes away. Men put incoming information together in our brain and prioritize subconsciously. So a man sitting on the couch with football and yapping kids will subconsciously pick football. Notice if someone gets hurt and screams the man will jump up instantly. This translates well to driving most of the time because priority in our brains is given to driving. It is thinking about movement and action and danger.

Women are champs at multi-tasking. They can hear what three people are saying while cooking and talking about what to do for so-and-so’s birthday. The chaos that drowns a man’s brain is all part of the ride for a woman’s. Everything is given equal priority. Therefore, while driving, a woman may be more likely to do her makeup or read a novel (I have seen this so don’t try and deny it). The red light or stopped car ahead is given just as much priority as the interesting billboard or talking on the phone.

Don’t get all bent out of shape. Especially, if you are driving at this very moment. Put the iPhone down and come back to this article. It will still be here. Look at the road!

The driving record within my own family supports this theory, overwhelmingly. My own sweet wife, Supermom, admitted to me early on that she believes in this stereotype as true 80% of the time. A good example story for her: When we were still dating we had just left her house one day and she was driving. She veered too far right and almost ran off the road. I mentioned her lacking some certain driving skills and she turned to look at me and berate me for suggesting such a thing. The only problem is that she turned with her head and her hands too. We were once again almost in the ditch. I think that was the day I took over as primary driver..

I put Prima on an electric Power Wheels type car and she didn’t get the concept that the steering wheel affected her direction. She kept the wheel turned completely to the left, foot down on the pedal, and rode in circles with zero regard for mail boxes or other drivers. You should all be terrified that she will be on the road one day. I know I am.

I have four future bad drivers and I really want to explore this issue. I need to know if there is anything I can do or practice with them to help the driving skills

Feel free to post and help me out.

Also, I the interest of fairness I did do a little research and found that the accident rate is about the same overall. Men are more likely to have an accident before age twenty five because of aggressive driving. Women are more likely to have an accident because of…SQUIRREL!

-Underdaddy to the rescue.