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Are Women Worse at Parking their Cars than Men?

Article by Fabafterfifty

The first time I’m asked to speak on national radio (BBC Woman’s Hour) and what’s the topic? Why I can’t park my car!

I have never been able to park the car- or at least not alongside the pavement (or parallel parking as they call it in the US). I have no sense of how much space I have alongside or behind me. Even with park assist.  I panic, I don’t know which way to turn the wheel! Friends have been known to park for me. Passers by actually stop and watch me.

Trying to parallel park

My biggest disaster was when I was living and working in Canada- ‘parallel parking’ was part of the test.  I booked 10 lessons to get me accustomed to driving on the opposite side of the road , 9 were spent practising my parking. You had to park between 2 ‘pretend cars’ ie blocks of concrete. Despite having postage stamps discretely stuck on the front and rear window to help me line up the car, I still couldn’t do it. My instructor had told me to smile confidently and offer to do it again- I was told the examiner would always say no- due to time pressures. He didn’t. Four parking attempts later I went from bad to worse! The examiner was marking notes on his clipboard. My smile was becoming less confident.

I was relieved when he said ‘drive on’. I assumed I had failed my test. I thought he was cruel making me continue knowing that he would fail me. Surprisingly he passed me- but told me to practice my parking!

More than 20 years of practising later I still can’t parallel park! And now my secret is out!



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  1. Jo Carroll

    September 28, 2011

    This isn’t a man/woman thing, nor an older/younger person thing. Just some people have better spacial awareness than others. We really shouldn’t go all girlie about it.

  2. Kelly Stevens

    February 28, 2012

    Im VERY proud of my parking skills. I can reserve park into a space leaving three inches behind and three inches in front in one move.

    I’ve even received a round of applause from passers by in the past!

    But seriously, I dont think its a male/woman thing at all. As Jo says, different people have different spacial awareness. But also I think that sometimes some of the women I have been in a car with panic about people waiting behind them, whereas men I have been a passenger with take the “They can wait” attitude more often. If you are under presure it’s harder to concentrate.

    Biggest mistake people make is that they dont start far enough forward. They underestimate the angle that they need to first approach at and come in 2 foot from the kerb. I would always suggest that you start a little further forward that you need you will need. Then its easier to adjust as you go.

    I’m a bit over the top about this whole parking thing!!! 🙂

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