Women behind the Wheel

Female styles of driving... or how female drivers still represent a controversial debate. It's always difficult to categorize as people can not be crowded under the same label just for the sake of classification. Each person is unique, hence a different style of driving.

The problem tends to become more simple in case you want to ask for men's point of view. Women are slow, hesitant, unpredictable, lack space orientation, don't appreciate distances, don't avoid pot holes and, of course, don't park well. To be more specific, many of the followers of Adam, who perceive themselves as if they were born behind the wheel, strongly believe ladies are not made for driving.

A rather pessimistic sentence I would say... and also unrealistic. Generalizing after having the unlucky chance to encounter some unhappy cases doesn't sound like an appropriate attitude.

Women drive differently, that's for sure, but in what way? Isn't society carefully constructing gender differences ever since babies are born? Most parents buy toy cars for boys and dolls for girls, creating stereotypes that are likely to affect their children's personality later. So, keeping in mind those gender-constructed contrasts, how do women drive after all?

The Hesitant

Women that fit in this category are either beginners in the driving mysteries or don't know the route. Everybody knows first contact with an unfamiliar environment requires  time for adaptation. Let's face it: neither man nor woman was born behind the wheel! Moreover, as far as route is concerned, although very useful GPS devices have been invented, we all know their accuracy in showing the shortest way is sometimes highly debatable. They even fail to give you proper directions in some cases! And besides, not all people afford or set as top priority the purchase of such devices.

The Tumultuous

Most men tend to be aggressive when driving, at least verbally. Concerning women, in some cases, one can notice a similar or even a more pronounced attitude that can seem rather strange at first sight. If it's just about a desire of imitation, a self-defense weapon or an inner feature, it's difficult to establish for the moment. In some female driver cases, the aggressiveness becomes so utter that it sometimes needs police intervention to put an end to the scandal. And it wasn't only once when I saw the traffic jammed because of some ladies who apparently forgot their vehicles in the middle of the junction and went out to quarrel about priority situations...

The Unassertive

No matter the reason, a large number of female drivers irrespective of their experience in traffic tend to act in a shy manner. Cars are undoubtedly linked with prestige and power and let's not forget that, at least last one was related to male attributes for centuries. Women have nowadays entered most once male-only areas, still the passage proves difficult to be internalized sometimes. Take for instance the driving license: a lot of women may have passed the test and got the document but how many of them are courageous enough to assume this new role? How many of them are truly aware of the fact they're able to handle it just as well as men do? There's no surprise, to my mind, that some female drivers lack self-esteem and fail to overcome deeply rooted prejudices. Psychologically speaking, being brainwashed for so long that you can't do it may result in believing that you actually aren't able to do it!

The Cautious

Women are less at fault in car accidents than men and this is because they can not be called road hogs (leaving away the exceptions). It's generally believed that women tend to drive more carefully and at lower speeds than the opposite sex. The reasons are mostly related to the fear of not mastering the beast or to the female's more cautious nature. No matter the cause, driving would be a much safer occupation if everybody was just as careful as ladies behind the wheel.

The Courageous

The fight for women rights started with those daring ladies who believed taking care of the house and bringing up children was almost handicapping for female potential. That's courage and as far as our topic is involved, it characterizes women who act as if driving is in their blood. This kind of female drivers are self-confident, have successfully assumed this new role and don't fear traffic. No matter how difficult the situation seems, they can master it because if men can, why couldn't they? What is more, due to their nerve, they tend to accumulate more driving experience as they never find excuses not to pull the car out of the garage everyday.
The Ignorant

Although this category is rather special and doesn't include only female drivers, the situations when  ladies make mistakes seem more numerous than those when men are involved. Not knowing or not caring look like irresponsible excuses for doing something wrong. Not giving priority, not allowing pedestrians to pass on the marked places, parking where not allowed or speaking on the phone while driving are common mistakes women do behind the wheel. Yet, breaking traffic rules doesn't seem like a problem for many women and practically, men make use of their example in order to say female drivers are awful. However, irrespective of the gender, one should be aware that driving is, first of all, a high responsibility.

Certainly this classification is not exhaustive. Little does it matter whether some women don't fit in a category or may be included in two of them. What we should keep in mind before judging a female driver is that no matter how hesitant, tumultuous, unassertive, cautious, courageous or ignorant, driving style is socially constructed.  If a woman was brought up according to general stereotypes, it's likely she will adopt so-called male roles, such as driving, with difficulty. Yet, this doesn't mean she's not capable to assume it.
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