Fellow women drivers infuriate me one moment and get me all guilty the next. After I have cussed at them, I say my prayers and apologies to all those who were part of the Suffrage Movement, chide myself for being so sexist and carry on driving. Till I meet another one.
What is about women and the way they drive? What makes them think that brakes are meant to be applied when driving in the fast lane and in the middle of the road? Why do they think it’s such a cool game to crawl from the extreme right lane to the extreme left, smiling, cooing at the motorists waiting patiently for them to pass, like it is their Pippa Middleton moment? Why do they keep trailing a car, neither overtaking nor giving way to cars behind them? And why can’t women reverse? Very few of them do it without touching the other car and they never do it in a straight line. I am sure there are some studies that would shed some light on this fact of life.
Women drivers can never ever park and this includes me. There has to be a gene that explains why even good women drivers get down and request the ‘bhaiya’ to park for them.
Now, I drive really well (most women I’ve met say this). Most men who’ve seen me drive have also complimented me on my driving skills. But most women I know suck at it.
My cousin nearly gives me a heart attack. She is young and thinks her angry yells can get her through on the road. She seems to be making a ‘gender’ point every time she drives. I come back exhausted after a drive with her. Another cousin has so much to do – and so many friends to catch up with – that I can never ask her to tail my car. She’ll be at 40 km per hour in the fast lane. And my mother, well, she is the queen. She has a 15-minute drill even before she begins. Driving with her always gives me high blood pressure. To be fair, as my editor pointed out, and so did a study in the Daily Mail, UK, since more men drive than women, the latter’s faults become conspicuous owing to their fewer numbers. I agree.
But till that fact is duly noted in the science journals, we can only depend on what we see. So I made a list of why most women drivers infuriate fellow drivers of either gender:
1 Women often drive around with little things in their lap. I am guilty of this too. With both hands juggling between a mirror, a lipstick, perfume, perhaps a dog or cat, a phone, wallet, sunglasses and the rest of their wardrobe, the steering is left to its devices.
2 They dress up their back windows and front windows so much – with stuffed toys, designer pillows and everything their boyfriends/children give them – that the rare times they have to reverse (themselves) and there is no help at hand, they completely miss the point.
3 Rearview mirror, what’s that for? If not for spending hours looking at yourself, applying concealer, seeing what your face would look like when you smile at that gorgeous guy. The only problem: totally oblivious of the traffic behind you.
4 Some of them believe the best place to text is behind the wheel. No intrusions and no interruptions. Even if all they have to say is ‘hi’, it has to be done in the extremely crowded parts of town, and right in the middle of the fast lane.
5 Accept it, women don’t love cars. Except for getting from point A to B. So, when the car stops and the tyres need to be changed, or when it starts making strange sounds, they pass it off as a road bump till the damned vehicle just stops. Right when the light turns green at a junction.
6 Getting a grip on the brake and the accelerator is complicated when one insists on wearing seven-inch heels. The heels often slip. How do some women solve this problem? By taking them off and driving.
7 Women have taken their new roles very seriously. They have to be domestic goddesses as well as power players in the boardrooms and the car is their stage. They need to update themselves on the latest music (so, they change CDs seven times), be agony aunts (hence, are always on the phone), read the newspaper, smile at fellow motorists and do everything else while driving.
8 Most cars are not made keeping women in mind. Seriously. Even the taller ones have trouble getting a 45 degree view of the road. This one is not their fault.
Disclaimer: The article is not meant to hurt sentiments. The author feels there are a few women who can drive – and she is one of them.
From HT Brunch, July 22
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