• Dec 12th 2011 at 2:00PM
  • 3
A little bit of confidence-building can make women bett... A little bit of confidence-building can make women better drivers. (Getty)
Ever hear the one about the woman driver who backed her car out of the garage one morning? She forgot she'd backed it in the night before.


If you are prone to telling jokes about female drivers and happen to be around women who don't drive well, new research says maybe you should shut it. Jokes about women driving make them worse drivers.

(And we realize there is a contradictory statement in the paragraph above: If you are prone to making women driver jokes, being surrounded by females probably isn't a problem you deal with often.)

A study done jointly between the University of Warwick in the U.K. and the University of Georgia in the U.S. shows that women are less spatially aware (the ability to negotiate movement through space with confidence) than men, but a little dose of confidence-building can help make them better drivers.

"Our research suggests that by making a woman feel better about herself, she'll become better at spatial tasks – which in the real world means tasks such as parking the car or reading a map," said Dr. Zachary Estes, a psychology researcher at the University of Warwick who co-wrote the research paper. "So a little bit of confidence-boosting may go a long way when it comes to reversing the car into a tight spot."

The researchers tested their theories on spatial ability through a series of four computer-based experiments on 545 students in the U.S. The computer tasks asked women to perform problems that involved thinking about how to rotate an object, while simultaneously manipulating their confidence levels. Those who felt better about themselves did better on the task.

"Confidence is a key factor in how well women perform at this kind of task," Estes said. In other words, confident drivers are better drivers.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 3 Years Ago
      Never heard that joke before, a prettty good one. I will have to send it to my daughter (never an accident or ticket in 13 years of driving, perfers manual transmissions, fast cars, etc).
      • 3 Years Ago
      So does joking about how a woman belongs in the kitchen boost confidence levels about being in the kitchen, thus causing them to spend more time in said kitchen?
      • 3 Years Ago
      I'm not the type to blindly endorse stereotypes, but I can't help but notice that women tend to be the worse drivers. Sure, I'll see guys driving either aggressively or speeding, but it's the women who seem brake way to abruptly, don't check blind spots, can't stay in lane, make unsafe merges, etc (i.e. the dangerous stuff). I'm of the belief that men and women are inherently different, and different doesn't always mean bad. Surely there are exceptions, but it's my understanding that the operation of motor vehicles is considered to be more masculine. And yes, there are women who can share the passion for driving, just as men can participate in activities that are socially considered feminine. On average, though, driving is consequently taken more seriously by men. It's something that isn't seen just as a means to and end or a necessary task of everyday living, but rather as a hobby that can be enjoyed. Thus the modern folktale of the modern family, where the wife wants utility and the husband wants sportiness (perhaps the reason behind the success of the Porsche Cayenne). And the more seriously a person takes something, the greater chance they are to be better at it. I'm not trying to be chauvinistic here, I'm just stating and explaining my personal observations. I'm not a scientist, but I do try to be objective about it. Let the down voting begin...