Too Close for Comfort

Occasionally, when driving with my wife, I play this little game: I point out other cars in the road which I believe are being driven by women (we don’t see the driver before I make my guess), and then we check to see if I’m right. I am seldom mistaken.

Before you jump and accuse me for being a chauvinist, I would like to state that I do not believe women are necessarily worse drivers than men. I lack the knowledge and the tools to make such a statement. My point is that women and men drive differently, and that it is a big enough difference to be noticeable.

I was content with this “we drive differently” theory until recently. I think I have now found out one area in which women are worse drivers, or to put it more accurately, more dangerous drivers, than men.

For a few months now I’ve gone back to riding a scooter (yes, it’s a midlife crisis thing, thank you for asking). My road to work, about 20 kilometres long, is mostly on highways (routes 4 and 5), which means I drive at almost 100KPH alongside cars that drive at least as fast. As anyone who drives a two-wheeler can tell you, the worst feeling is when cars get too close to you.

Here is what I found out. In almost all cases where a car is too close for comfort, the driver of the car is a woman. For some reason, women do not realise that a scooter cannot take turns as fast as a car, so they drive right up to you and don’t back off. Or, when overtaking, they will move only partially to the overtaking lane and therefore drive very close to me for quite some time. This is also the case when switching lanes; when butting in, they will not keep the distance they would normally keep from another car.

I don’t have an answer to why this is happening mostly with women drivers. I just know it is happening. And I don’t like it one bit.

5 thoughts on “Too Close for Comfort

  1. Anonymous: I believe you were referring to the confirmation bias (alluded to by Natalie above), and not the observational bias. But the point is well taken.

  2. Sorry, I disagree.
    Everyone that I know who plays this game (you’re not the only one) does the same thing. If it’s a woman, they’re vindicated. Hah! You see? It’s a woman. If it’s a man, they say nothing. A coincidence, an exception.
    So what happens, when it’s a man, the incident is forgotten because there’s no reaction. If it’s a woman, there’s the vindication, the “aha!” moment. And so it’s remembered.
    Until you get an Excel spreadsheet, define your parameters, record your data, calculate the error and standard deviation, this is just a bunch of BS, whether you’re describing it as driving “differently” or worse, in this case you mean the same thing.
    You want real stats about which drivers are better (“different”)? Talk to car insurance people.

    Now that I live in the states, the game is altered. We say that the drivers are so horrible that they must be Israeli. Or from NYC. Or both. 😉

  3. If I can theorize, probably the problem you mentioned re sharing the road with scooters has to do with women being less prone to riding scooters or bikes themselves and they’re therefore less familiar with the limits of two-wheelers.

  4. yes it is a chauvinist remark…but one that I happen to agree with …based on the exact same reasons as you pointed out .Women drive differently like everything else we do….better or worse …that you can choose
    As for me ..I know for a fact that I drive like a man…I have been told does that make me a good driver or do I have a serious identity problem?

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