Women can do anything - even park

03:17, Apr 06 2009

I had my learner licence for almost 10 years before I sat behind the driver's seat of a car.

I often get asked why it took me so long. I guess it was because growing up in bogan car-mad Hamilton meant I was never short of friendly boy-racers (who often masqueraded as boyfriends as well) to drive me around. I also lived a measly 3km from anywhere that mattered (except beautiful Raglan) and a nasty car accident that I was suicide-seat passenger in during my teens meant I was a tad wary of anything motorised.

That's all in the past now though and I absolutely love my car - Bluey, the (white) Nissan Bluebird.

I'm still (embarrassingly) on my restricted, having only just completed 18 months on that licence, and I still (embarrassingly) only drive an automatic - cue: dismissive groans from all male readers. I'm working on remedying both.

But I reckon I'm a pretty good driver. Sure, I'm over-confident, but I think that's a good thing; nothing worse than a hesitant driver, flip flopping between the brake and accelerator and confusing other drivers (and causing accidents) in the process.

I had my learner licence for almost 10 years before I sat behind the driver's seat of a car.

I often get asked why it took me so long. I guess it was because growing up in bogan car-mad Hamilton meant I was never short of friendly boy-racers (who often masqueraded as boyfriends as well) to drive me around. I also lived a measly 3km from anywhere that mattered (except beautiful Raglan) and a nasty car accident that I was suicide-seat passenger in during my teens meant I was a tad wary of anything motorised.

That's all in the past now though and I absolutely love my car - Bluey, the (white) Nissan Bluebird.

I'm still (embarrassingly) on my restricted, having only just completed 18 months on that licence, and I still (embarrassingly) only drive an automatic - cue: dismissive groans from all male readers. I'm working on remedying both.

But I reckon I'm a pretty good driver. Sure, I'm over-confident, but I think that's a good thing; nothing worse than a hesitant driver, flip flopping between the brake and accelerator and confusing other drivers (and causing accidents) in the process.

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I also rate my ability at parallel parking, the arch-enemy of most female drivers.

This became topic of conversation between me and my two flatmates en route to the cinema down the road on the weekend (it was raining, we had to drive...).

Saturday night at the movies was proving popular, so parks were scarce. Eventually we found one - parallel, of course - and the driver groaned sarcastically "Oh, my all time favourite".

The other flattie and I disagreed: "I love parallel parking!" we chimed at the same time.

Some women don't. And I get that. It can be stressful with a line of impatient traffic behind you, beeping their horns. And it can be embarrassing when you've got someone in the car and you ride up on the kerb - not to mention bad for the old wheels.

My sister, who has been a driver for almost 20 years, once said she would drive around forever and/or change her plans entirely in order to avoid a parallel park.

She's not alone; I'd say the majority of ladies would be the same? I've got a pretty big car for Wellington streets (and parks) so when I nail a parallel park, a little voice inside of me tells me to fist punch the air in great achievement and give myself a wee pat on the back. It's a small but gracious victory for all of womankind, I feel.

I reckon I'm pretty good at it though. There's nothing like whipping the car into reverse, swinging round on the steering wheel, one-armed, and slotting Bluey into the space with the grace of a ballroom dancer.

I'll admit there are a lot of shocking female drivers out there, but do you really think the tag that all women are bad drivers is deserved? I've met some pretty shocking male drivers too - heck, a male was driving in the accident I was in.

I think it's got more to do with the person; whether or not they are confident and good under pressure, rather than what tackle is dangling, or not, between their legs.

Wouldn't you think that the fact we can multi-task (drive, change radio station, txt and gossip with our mates - all at the same time... kidding) would mean women would make good drivers?

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