Driving

(72 Posts)
Jenijena Thu 19-May-16 19:23:18

I know of so many women, in real life, in threads on mn, and on local Facebook groups with variations of the following:

'I passed my test, but I'm too scared to drive now, but it's ok, dp drives'
'I'm a nervous driver so don't feel I can go anywhere new/drive in traffic unless someone else takes me'
'I only drive these types of journeys'
'There's no point me learning to drive as DH does anything anyway'

Now there might be a whole raft of men out there who feel the same, but I can only think of one couple I know where the man learned to drive late and still doesn't do much driving. For what it's worth, I know lots of couples where the woman drives more than the man, but typically because 'her' car is the family car, whereas the man has the runaround/sports car/van or whatever. But if there's a non driver, it's nearly always the woman.

Why? Are women more nervous? Are we conditioned to be the nervy ones? Or am I spotting a trend which doesn't exist?

ABCAlwaysBeCunting Thu 19-May-16 19:50:51

I don't know. In all honesty, and I accept I'm probably BU, I cannot understand the attitude of choosing to be dependent on someone else for your transport. The 'ooh, but I'm just too scared to drive on my own/go on the motorway/drive somewhere new' irritates me too because it makes me think that if someone is that scared, they could get extra training rather than seeming to revel in hopeless inadequacy.

Having grown up in a rural area, the first thing everyone did, male or female, was learn to drive and buy a cheap car.

I do think there's a certain amount of conditioning around women and driving - (some) men assume women know nothing about cars and will be terrible drivers, while (some) women see knowing about cars and driving as a boring boys' nerdy thing.

0phelia Thu 19-May-16 21:16:27

I've been in three proper relationships, and none of these men could drive. I drove them. Most couples I know both partners share all the driving. I've driven in many different countries too and used to drive with DP on the back of my motorbike when we lived in Thailand.

I wonder who is out there posting all these pathetic things onto Facebook. Not on my feed, at least!

They sound like younger women, who maybe think they fit in more by being all "helpless female" or something strange / generational like that.

LassWiTheDelicateAir Thu 19-May-16 21:26:31

, I hate driving. I am a very nervous driver. I hate driving anywhere I don't know. I've never driven on a motorway apart from the M8 which doesn't really count.

I don't mind driving in the country side too much and will if I have to. I've driven in rural France and Denmark.

I have to drive occasionally for work and hated it. I'm sufficiently senior now that I can requisition a trainee to drive me.

I'm not sure where you are going with this thread. Some people like driving, some don't.

LassWiTheDelicateAir Thu 19-May-16 21:30:05

I'm 57 Ophelia I don't have a Facebook account. In my case it's got nothing to do with being a helpless female - driving scares me and scares me more as I get older.

LassWiTheDelicateAir Thu 19-May-16 21:34:13

Oh I missed ABC's charming post.

Sorry I'll just have to continue "revelling in hopeless inadequacy"

ABCAlwaysBeCunting Thu 19-May-16 21:34:27

Lass I think OP is asking if people think there is social conditioning around attitudes towards men and women driving.

OublietteBravo Thu 19-May-16 21:34:59

I hate driving, whereas DH enjoys it. When we're traveling together he tends to drive.

I do drive most days. There is no other practical way for me to get to work, and I tend to be the one being a taxi service for the DC (I work much closer to home than DH).

I've also driven long distances when DH has been incapacitated (he had his shoulder reconstructed following a rugby injury - so I did all the driving for a couple of months).

I'm a good driver - I just don't enjoy using this particular skill.

FWIW - I know quite a few couples where only one person drives. The non-drivers are evenly split between men/women. The trend I notice most is that the non-drivers tend to have grown up in cities.

LassWiTheDelicateAir Thu 19-May-16 21:37:36

ABC Read your own post back. You said

The 'ooh, but I'm just too scared to drive on my own/go on the motorway/drive somewhere new' irritates me too because it makes me think that if someone is that scared, they could get extra training rather than seeming to revel in hopeless inadequacy

You clearly have zero understanding and zero empathy of what it feels like to be utterly terrified behind a steering wheel.

Bumpk1n Thu 19-May-16 21:38:50

According to my parents my OH isn't worthy to be with as he cant drive and I am just his taxi service.

LassWiTheDelicateAir Thu 19-May-16 21:45:00

Oh and as for the social conditioning bit I grew up in a rural area too. Every one was expected to drive as soon as they could.

jules1308 Thu 19-May-16 21:45:19

I struggle to see how not liking driving equates to 'hopeless inadequacy'....!?
I can drive, I'm a good driver and I drive every day, but I really don't like it. I find driving long journeys both nerve wracking and incredibly boring.
DH on the other hand enjoys driving and would drive anywhere without a thought so he does drive the majority of long journeys.
I like cycling but I don't consider myself a failure as a woman because I don't want to cycle through London in rush hour traffic.

LassWiTheDelicateAir Thu 19-May-16 21:50:23

I struggle to see how not liking driving equates to 'hopeless inadequacy'....!?

So do I but perhaps ABC can enlighten us. Apparently people like me 'revel in hopeless inadequacy"

ABCAlwaysBeCunting Thu 19-May-16 21:53:36

Lass Well, yes, I don't really have any understanding of it because it's not something I've experienced and to me it seems rather self-limiting to perpetuate a fear of being able to transport yourself from A to B, but everyone's different.

I was thinking more of some women (and I have met women like this) who present a fear of driving as an emblem of femininity and a kind of faux 'ooh, aren't I a helpless little girl' type attitude.

In all honesty, I've lost a lot of confidence with driving over the last few years because of mainly using public transport, but I've been thinking of doing some additional driver training to brush up the skills. I do think being able to drive is a pretty important skill to have, especially for women with children though.

Jenijena Thu 19-May-16 21:54:50

I can't imagine any man I know who has a driving licence saying 'ooh, I can't go to x as I'm not prepared to go on the motorway', but I know several women in this category... I'm prepared to acknowledge this anecdote might not be a true reflection, but if it's 'real', why are women the nervous drivers? (Or is it that men hide their nervousness? Or just make up all the idiot motorway drivers who are out there?)

And I agree with ABC, I can't imagine choosing to be dependent (finding yourself in that situation through illness is different) on someone else for transport - to choose to live somewhere where you can only get out with someone else, because there is no public transport, you don't cycle, whatever, - seems shortsighted.

WriteforFun1 Thu 19-May-16 21:55:11

Well this thread has prompted me to say something sexist and I sort of hate myself for saying it
I think women are way better drivers than men
I think the reason there are lots of women saying they prefer not to drive detain routes etc is that they are prepared to admit their fears especially while driving and risking the lives of others
I don't think crap male drivers are likely to admit it
Some don't think enough about what they are doing and if they did they might be nervous
For the record I used to love driving, hated anyone else driving and still keep an eye on the road like I'm the driver when in a cab
(I got rid of the car because it's pointless in London )

What annoys me more is women who won't get in a cab or on a train but base their social life around their DH availability for lifts

Bolingbroke Thu 19-May-16 21:55:53

I was watching the caravanner of the year programme on the BBC (because my life is that exciting) and they had to do various challenges like reversing round things and into tight spaces etc. Anyway, on one of the challenges they got the women to do the driving/reversing as usually in each couple the male did it. Initially some didn't want to do it as they'd never done it before and towing a caravan for the first time/driving a motorhome is quite daunting. But by and large they were all good at it. And the men were quite surprised that they managed.

I don't blame them for not wanting to drive/tow their caravan, but it made me think that in the 10/20/30+ years these couples had been going caravanning the women had never driven/towed the caravan. It just made me think that the husbands had never gone "why don't you give it a go? You could do it" and whether the men didn't believe/support them in doing other things in their lives, or whether it was just when it came to the typical male jobs/roles that they didn't even think about the women doing it.

A little bit off topic, but there were go...

whifflesqueak Thu 19-May-16 21:56:53

I live in a tiny village that is 4 miles from the nearest (infrequent) bus stop. I have had over 100 hours of driving tuition.

I cannot drive. I am terrified behind a wheel. I don't know why, as an otherwise confident and rational woman, I am reduced to a wreck when given charge of a vehicle.

I'm also a feminist, and would prefer that my very real fear wasn't turned into a comment on my inadequacy as a woman.

steffw89 Thu 19-May-16 22:05:40

I don't mind driving, in fact I really enjoy it but that's because my mum pushed me to really get into it. This is my mum who spent a couple of decades roaring around in any car, bike, van, lorry or arctic she could get her hands on (worked for the post office). Now however she is a very nervous driver, she had a bad accident which then turned into a very abusive encounter and since then really struggles.

I also know people my age, younger and older of both genders who just aren't interested.

There are lots of reasons people don't drive and it makes me angry when people instantly judge. Especially with my mums case - she is terrified of the motorway and couldn't get to a family wedding without help - she was told to get a grip by another family member. You don't know what that person has gone through and you can say "well I'd be fine so she should be" but unless you've been in that situation you never will!

WriteforFun1 Thu 19-May-16 22:06:47

Boling, my query would be why didn't the women try it?

LassWiTheDelicateAir Thu 19-May-16 22:22:28

I'm also a feminist, and would prefer that my very real fear wasn't turned into a comment on my inadequacy as a woman

Yes indeed. ABC If you are assuming I've done nothing about my fear by way of extra lessons, practicing etc and just prefer to revel in my inadequacy you are wrong.

I've been driving over 30 years. I've never had an accident (whilst my super confident husband has written off 2 cars) and I still hate driving.

LassWiTheDelicateAir Thu 19-May-16 22:23:59

*I think women are way better drivers than men
I think the reason there are lots of women saying they prefer not to drive detain routes etc is that they are prepared to admit their fears especially while driving and risking the lives of others
I don't think crap male drivers are likely to admit it*

I agree.

NotCitrus Thu 19-May-16 22:29:15

I think the kind of women who thought they shouldn't need to drive are dying out - my aunt is now late 70s but always used to say she shouldn't have to drive, that's what she got married for! She was annoying in many other ways, but having moved from small town with buses to big town, to the middle of nowhere, is now regretting it as uncle is in poor health.

With most younger people, there seems to be an equal number of boys and girls who get driving lessons for their 17th, but more boys pass first time and the girls don't get into the habit of driving even if they pass a test later. And if you start a relationship where one of you drives and the other navigates, it's unlikely to change. With men usually older than women in relationships, again they're more likely to be able to drive.

Anyone who only drives a little is likely to be less confident. I do think though that ending up in a rural area despite not being able to drive is a choice women seem to agree to whereas men who can't drive are more insistent on living somewhere urban.

DriveMeToTennessee Thu 19-May-16 22:30:42

I also agree about women on the whole being more responsible drivers than men.

I can't drive. I really wish I had learned 10 years ago, but I wasn't particularly interested/couldn't have afforded it. And was a bit nervous about it too. I'm going to try and learn over the next few months but I'm really questioning whether I can do it. I'm really scared of the thought of causing an accident, hurting somebody. Especially the thought of driving my DC around.

RhinestoneCowgirl Thu 19-May-16 22:34:12

My brother will probably never learn to drive, he's severely dyspraxic. I haven't asked him whether it's a feminist issue.

I have a driving licence but haven't driven for about 2 yrs, I really hate it. I cycle instead (on the roads) or use public transport. I live in a city.

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