• Dec 27, 2009
We've heard this before: men are better at parking than women. It sounds like a bunch of macho male ego BS that's been perpetuated since the days of Leave it to Beaver (happy 94th birthday, Barbra Billingsley!) and Father Knows Best, but the U.K.'s Telegraph reports that a study shows that this myth may not be far from reality.
Dr Claudia Wolf from Ruhr University in Bochum, Germany lead a study of 65 men and women, testing different parking maneuvers of both sexes. The vehicle of choice was an Audi A6, and test subjects were timed during head-on, reverse and parallel parking. Parking accuracy was also measured. The end result? Men parked their vehicles an average of 20 seconds faster than women while also managing to park the Audi closer to the center of the spot. Dr. Wolf says the study demonstrates that men have better spatial awareness than women, but the good doctor was sure to keep men's egos in check by adding, "it is not as if there was a massive failing by women. It is just about parking – not the triumph of men over women."

We're not sure that a study of 65 random test subjects is a big enough sample to definitively say that men are better parkers than women, but the test does give guys a small feather to stick in their caps nonetheless. We'd suggest not bragging about it to your wives and girlfriends, though, because that could lead to... unpleasantness.

[Source: Telegraph | Image: Bruno Vincent/Getty]


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 57 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      MEN RULE!!! WOMEN SUCK!!!...............at parking?
      JDM Life
      • 5 Years Ago
      Shocking ! (sarcasm)
        • 5 Years Ago
        @JDM Life
        Particularly shocking given the fine specimen of male brainpower exhibited by matthew / pigeon...
        • 5 Years Ago
        @JDM Life
        If the study is based on the rate of drunk driving, road rage, speeding, and illegal racing, women will be better drivers than men.

        So what do you want? A half naked Miss Fox scratches your car at 5 mph in a parking lot, or a drunken Mr. LaBeouf hits you sideway in an intersection with his F350?
        invisiblepigeon3
        • 5 Years Ago
        @JDM Life
        Sea Urine

        I don't think you've ever been to university or studied Psychology at all have you? If you had, you'd know that women and men have physiological differences in their brain formation, most speicifically in the hypothalymus. This results in functional differences between men and women, but it's not to say that one is necessarily more intelligent than the other.

        I'm assuming that you're male, and you're proof that there are plenty of stupid males out there.

        For the record, I'm male as well. You should really get some FACTS before you blurt out things that make you and the rest of us look like idiots. How much critical thinking did you have to do to pull up a webpage?
        • 5 Years Ago
        @JDM Life
        @ invisiblepigeon3

        Lawrence Summers said it, not ME, that is why i provided a Wikipedia link. When you click on it you will see his picture there.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @JDM Life
        Current Obama Economic advisor Lawrence Summers said it out right, men are smarter than women, that is why you see way more men in mathematics and hard sciences.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lawrence_Summers#Differences_between_the_sexes


        Needles to say feminists forced him to resign.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @JDM Life
        Here's a video that proves the study, it is all over the web and is on front Yahoo page, a woman can not park a car.

        http://www.stupidvideos.com/video/just_plain_stupid/Parking_Lot_Disaster/
      • 5 Years Ago
      What a waste of time and money. We already knew this for a fact. Women suck at driving, especially parking.

      It takes them 5 minutes to park in a spot and to pull out and when they finally get in there there way to close to your car or there not even pulled in straight.
      • 5 Years Ago
      They should try with a Cadillac Brougham. 221" Length baby.

      Sad thing is I am a guy, and I have trouble parking my Suburban.
        • 5 Years Ago
        try parking @ same spot in spain.
        without hitting other cars it's impossible.

        you can observe other people hitting your cars while maneuvering front/reverse their cars out of the spot ad hit the car in front as well the car behind, even various times if needed.

        the f*cking spaniards don't have seprators between the parking spot.
        http://img.youtube.com/vi/yMB-lOZo0PA/0.jpg

        to make things worse you can find a scooter, moped or motor cycle between your car and the other car front/behind you.
        try to get out of that (without knocking it over @ 7.00 in the morning and you're in a hurry.
        to bad bad i can't find a pic about that

        http://www.malaparcado.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/11/aaaa.jpg
      • 5 Years Ago
      This is like the study which showed that rain was wet.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Oh please.

      Was this normalized for the amount of time that each person spent driving? I'd wager that men have spent more time, on average, behind the wheel. This comes down to proving that men DRIVE MORE. That would hardly be surprising.

      The REAL question is WHY do men drive more? Are they conditioned to want to drive more? Do they find it inherently more enjoyable? My partner finds driving really stressful, so I do 99% of the driving. It's a matter of me being more comfortable in traffic -- again, because I've probably done more of it -- not that I'm just arbitrarily better.

      What a stupid study. Next the news will read that people that practice the piano more are better than people that never practice at all.
        • 5 Years Ago
        JSacharuk,

        This study has actually been done before, though this is the first time it's gotten a lot of press coverage. It ALWAYS comes up with the same results. Your alternate explanation that perhaps men spend more time behind the wheel than women is plausible, but you have no basis for suggesting that.

        The idea is that in a random sample, you get new and experienced drivers that are both men and women. Many women are car owners as well, and in this random sample, there's no reason to believe that the men spent significant time behind the wheel than women, or that merely spending a few more hours behind the wheel would lead to the significant differences seen here.

        If you actually bothered to look up information on the study, you would know that the study was actually done by a feminist scholar who wanted to prove or disprove the long-standing belief. All the drivers had varying levels of experience behind the wheel, and were of similar ages and education levels. She DID control for all of these variables as much as possible, so your experience argument falls flat.

        The study is rather pointless and doesn't prove anything, but it does reinforce the point that there are differences between men and women, which everyone already knew anyway.

        http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1237236/Men-ARE-better-women-parking-Feminist-scientists-proves-sexist-motorists-known-along.html
        • 5 Years Ago
        For eons men have been identifying to women that something is 8" long that is really a generous 6". Resulting in a generic adaption that causes women to misjudge distance.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @ JSachuruk

        Practice does make perfect (or nearly so) I will never deny that.

        With an unbiased mind though, its quite clear that there are inherent differences (in general and with exceptions) between men and women from birth and regardless of upbringing. This gives us all advantages and disadvantages that can be difficult to overcome.

        • 5 Years Ago
        @JSacharuk

        Your argument still doesn't change the fact that men are usually better drivers. If you said women are better at shopping I wouldn't disagree. =)
        • 5 Years Ago
        Proof by example is a logical fallacy unless you exhaust 100% of the sample base, i.e. the entire human population.

        Statistics are not science. If you want real science, go back to first principles. Look at the genetics. Take every single gene on the Y chromosome and run simulations of how each one affects brain development. Take every single gene on the X chromosome and run simulations of having one or two alleles affects brain development. That's science. Unfortunately for you impatient people who want all the answers now, that's going to take a lot of computing power, probably more than we have now. So we'll just have to wait a bit. Performing psuedoscience while we're waiting is the absolutely worst thing we can do. Just be patient and wait for technology to catch up to the demands of experimentation.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I'd like to see what studies you've done concerning that theory of men driving more. As far as family travelling, men tend to drive more, but when I was a teen, it was the girls that would go driving for hours when they were bored. As a bachelor, it was the women I knew that were more apt to go on road trips. Men, stereotypically, like to drive and drive fast. But our preferred driving is a couple of hours on weekends or 9-13 sec on friday nights, not hours/day our of boredom.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @tarheel91

        Man, I know about random selection and that stuff. (I have a CS degree, they made me take stats courses like everyone else.)

        No, randomization doesn't cancel out my complaints. Moreover, I don't know how you sufficiently randomize such a study. This isn't like a call up survey where you can get a randomized sample for the whole country. First of all, were all these people from the same place? It seems like they would sort of have to be, so immediately you've got a localized selection bias. Moreover, you've got a selection bias that is immediately evident because this was done in Germany. Now we know the results are only good FOR THAT COUNTRY, assuming they're good at all.

        Third, you've got 66 people. The population of Germany is 82 million; a quick search revealed that the approximate voting population is 62 million. I figured that half the voting people drive, which may or may not be a conservative estimate. According to this quick little sample size generator that I found online (if you're a statistician, you can verify its accuracy) you'd need a sample size of 385 people to get a margin of error of 5% with a confidence level of 95%. If you drop the confidence level to 90%, you only need 287. (Incidentally, if you plug in '66', it tells you that with a skew of 50%, you get a nearly 10% margin error. With a skew of 10%, you still get a 6+% margin of error, which is bigger than the difference we're seeing.)

        (http://www.raosoft.com/samplesize.html)

        The story says there's a margin of of difference between the accuracy of...5%. Well, crap.

        Moreover, where's the control group: non-drivers? This study becomes considerably more relevant if you know where you stand with people that don't really know how to operate a car well.

        Then there's the societal bias. I wanted to drive from the time that I was a young lad because I always saw my Dad and Uncle and Grandfather do it and I thought they were really cool and it was a pretty neat thing to do. My mother drove rarely, and my aunts and Grandmother not at all. My sister STILL doesn't have her driver's licence, and I've been driving more than 15 years.

        This study answers NO questions. It reveals nothing meaningful at all. Even if we can say that men are better at parking than women, this study doesn't answer any questions worth asking. I'm more interested in knowing WHY. Spatial relationships are surely only part of the equation; again, we (the posters in this thread) seem to generally agree that experience trumps spatial reasoning. (To say nothing of the studies that seem to show that as children, we start with very similar spacial reasoning capacity and we diverge AFTER that. Now THAT'S an interesting and relevant study.)

        This whole thing is lame, including the blithering idiot 'feminist' at the end. Congratulations on being firmly mired in the past, lady. :P
        • 5 Years Ago
        Actually, the selection bias is worse than I thought. Because you have to get people to agree to this, you're selecting people that decide that they have the time and inclination to do this study. Maybe mothers that drive a lot didn't have time to go out and do it, and they'd do great.

        My main objection to this study -- as with MANY scientific studies, don't get me wrong -- is that this is very poorly set up and controlled. I honestly feel conclusions can't be drawn here, much like they can't in studies about finger length and aggression.

        There's tonnes of bad science out there, this is just some of it. It happens in all sorts of areas, too (my partner is doing her PhD, we see a lot of bad papers from a lot of different people. That's academia for you. :/)

        • 5 Years Ago
        Sure, but what I'm saying is that this study doesn't actually prove any of that. Experience will always trump in-built ability in this case. We're talking about parking, not neurosurgery.

        There're going to be differences between you and I. If we assume that you were naturally born better at parking, but I've spent 5 more years driving, I would still expect to be better at it than you.

        Again, all this 'study' shows me is that men drive more. Because we know it's possible to overcome the -- probably unbelievably minor -- gap, this ends up being a weird sensational headline that doesn't actually ask or answer any interesting questions. (e.g. Why do women drive less? Are women conditioned to think they'll be worse drivers because we've been telling them they are? How much is nature and how much is nurture? Personally, I'd expect women to be BETTER drivers on average because their shorter stature would give them naturally faster reflexes; nerve impulses have measurably less distance to cross!)

        I once read about a study (done at my University, much to my embarrassment) where they determined that having a longer index finger correlates to aggressiveness. It made it into the paper, but it's meaningless 'science'. Having a long index finger doesn't CAUSE aggression, and being aggressive doesn't CAUSE a long middle finger, and maybe there's some genetic oddness in between that causes both simultaneously, but what does that even tell us?

        This is all done just to stir things up. There's no real meaningful conclusion to be drawn. If someone manages to park without bashing up my car, I'm happy. :/
      • 5 Years Ago
      in other news, water wet
      • 5 Years Ago
      All this study says is that the men they chose parked better than the women they chose.

      Statistics are NOT science.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Ha!Ha!
      • 5 Years Ago
      On the plus side, I bet most women are better at cooking and sewing than men.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Look at Food Network, the best chefs are men.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Laundry, too! :D
        • 5 Years Ago
        Men don't sign up for sewing, so there are no statistics.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Then why am I doing all the cooking in my house? I smell a conspiracy.
      • 5 Years Ago
      wow.. lots of d**k waving going on here. I'll just say that I've never parked crooked, half a***d or like an a**hole, I don't circle the parking lot I go directly to the furthest safe spot and I value my car more than most men.

      Let me also say that I'm guessing/betting that I could out drive the majority of you... road, track or drag strip and that yes.... I am a woman.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @ invisiblepigeon3

        Actually I have taken higher education, thank you so much for your concern.

        I'm well aware that we're all 'female' at the start.

        Both men and women have testosterone.

        Those are given facts. My point is that there are differences in brain chemistry, hormones and the structure of the brain. The amount of estrogen and testosterone in one's body can dramatically change a person.

        Have you ever read about the actual brain differences between the two sexes?

        • 5 Years Ago
        DarwinianReject

        And you sound ignorant.

        Unless your idea of the 'perfect' weight is the anorexic supermodel look.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Sounds like someone is a bit intimidated.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @blueheaven
        You sound fat.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I'd be willing to wager than your testosterone levels are higher than average for a woman as well and have been for many years. This has affected how your brain was formed and continues to function.

        Its not a slight against you, its just an explanation as to how the mind and body function.

        • 5 Years Ago
        @ fmwso

        Truth. I've seen plenty of bad drivers of both sexes and all ages. Thank you for understanding. My cars have been my life and I've never left a single one stock. I always keep them in top running order and obsessively clean and detailed and live for hard drives on the back twisty roads. :)
        • 5 Years Ago
        I never meant to sound rude but I just didn't like the way you wrote it. To say that you could out drive the majority of the people here is just way too biased.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "Let me also say that I'm guessing/betting that I could out drive the majority of you... road, track or drag strip and that yes.... I am a woman."

        Stop showing off and prove it. It's easy to write but hard to do.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @bluheaven:
        Cool. I think that it was a complete misunderstanding that people ranked you down. I believe that bad drivers come from both sides. It's awesome that you're into cars as well.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Academics... gotta love it. You always have some kind of studies going on for common sense.
    • Load More Comments