A National Car Parks (NCP) report has concluded that women are actually better at parking their cars than men. This turns a car parking stereotype on its head, but does gender really come into it?
In its study, NCP ‘assessed’ 2,500 people’s parking and rated them on things like speed and accuracy – in fact the final position within the space was given the highest weighting.
The survey found that although women took longer to park on average (21 seconds versus men parking in 16 seconds), they spent this extra time well. More than half the women managed to park centrally in the bays, compared to just a quarter of men.
Much of this was due to women having a better ‘pre parking pose’ and being more likely to reposition their car for a better final position, which the survey calls the ‘female shuffle’.
All in all, NCP gave women a better ‘parking coefficient’ score than men, despite only a fifth of women actually believing that they were better parkers.
Girls better than boys?
Well, when I read the report, I thought it flawed. I could draw anecdotally on lots of male/female drivers I know, but in this case, I’ll talk about my own family.
In our household at least, we’re split down the middle – but not by gender. Of the four of us who drive, I’m not too bad at parking and can squeeze my car into spaces my wife would probably shy away from trying.
But the same applies if you compare our two daughters, one of whom would give it a go and probably succeed, while the other would either drive on by, or ask for help.
I simply don’t believe that there is a male/female split. It’s much more about spatial awareness and confidence. Some may argue that men have better spatial awareness than women, but I’ve known women who could throw a better dart than many men, and I’ve known men who simply couldn’t hit a barn door with a beanbag from two feet away.
My parking obsessions
Of course, when it comes to parking, there are three things on my mind:
1. I’d rather not pay. I am told by my wife and daughters that ‘being mean’ – or as I’d prefer to say ‘saving money on my motoring’ – is a male trait! I always look for free parking wherever I go, though this isn’t always feasible, especially if you’re picking someone up from the airport, where you’re bound to be fleeced!
2. I’m keen to avoid a parking ticket, so I keep my eyes open for limitations and restrictions wherever I park.
3. I want to avoid risk – either of accidental damage to my car (lots of car parks have insufficient space in their bays in my view), or of being a victim of car crime.
As far as my parking style, I almost always reverse into a space. I learned that during my advanced driver training. It is always better to come out of the space forwards, where you can clearly see what’s happening ahead of you.
And going in forwards is usually more difficult in any case – I’ve seen many instances where a driver fails to judge it correctly. If they’re lucky, they reverse out and try again; if they’re not, they clip one of the cars either side. In either case, their gender isn’t the problem here, their approach is.
How good do you think you are at parking your car?
I'm a man - and I'm good at parking (44%, 336 Votes)
I'm a woman - and I'm good at parking (26%, 200 Votes)
I'm a man - and I'm not good at parking (16%, 119 Votes)
I'm a woman - and I'm not good at parking (14%, 103 Votes)
Total Voters: 762