Sex and Parking

December 21st, 2009 at 12:36 pm by David Farrar

The Press reports:

The argument between couples as to who is better at , finally has a scientific answer.

Psychologists asked 65 volunteers to park an Audi in a sealed-off university car park.

The results found that women took up to 20 seconds longer to park in the same space.

But although they were more cautious about edging into position, it did not make them any more accurate.

Scientists from Ruhr University in Bochum, Germany, found men were better at driving both head-on into the space and reversing into it.

However, the biggest difference was in parallel parking, where men were found to be 5 per cent better in their handling and positioning of the vehicle.

That reminds me of an old joke. It is better in person with hand actions than in print, but nevertheless it goes like this:

Why are women so bad at parallel parking?

Because men keep telling them that |                                                              | is six inches

Some years ago, was at a Xmas Party at Fords Cafe and a woman was trying ot park outside, and failing badly. Someone told this joke to the table and for several minutes we were pissing ourselves as we kept watching her try to park. She finally managed it and we were a bit worried she would think we were laughing at her (rather than the joke) so we sent someone outside to tell her the joke, and she also burst into laughter.

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24 Responses to “Sex and Parking”

  1. Chthoniid (2,030 comments) says:

    I liked the feminist variant of the joke-

    “Men are only good for one thing…

    …and how often do you need to parallel park anyway”

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  2. RRM (9,773 comments) says:

    I gave my missus a drive of the Triumph yesterday… her first ever go at it, biggest car she’s ever driven, and first time in over a year she’s driven anything other than her own car. Parked it perfectly at the mall, first attempt.

    The only “trouble with women” is that “most women” (citation needed) drive horrible little hatchback cars that are specially designed with high dashboards so you can’t see the front corners of the car, and minimal back windows so you can’t see the rear corners of the car. Thereby making most small modern city cars significantly harder to park than big old tanks designed for the English motorways…

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  3. brucehoult (199 comments) says:

    Surely you mean eight inches?

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  4. brucehoult (199 comments) says:

    Also it’s dead easy to parallel park like a pro, and I can teach anyone to do it in a few minutes. The problem is in the poor quality of teaching that everyone gets. Usually the teacher doesn’t actually have a clue how they do it, let alone being able to communicate it.

    There are five key observations:

    1) the car behind the space you’re parking in is irrelevant to how you perform the maneuver. There’s either enough space or there isn’t. If there’s enough space then you always do it exactly the same way. If there’s not then nothing you can do will help.

    2) when you have full steering lock the rear wheel on the inside of the turn almost doesn’t move. (always use full lock, not less)

    3) You pivot around (usually, in NZ) first the left rear wheel to get the right angle, then reverse in a straight line until the right rear wheel is in the correct place (in line with the outside edge of the other cars), then pivot around it.

    4) the right angle is always the same for a given car, and depends on the length of the wheelbase and width of the car. The right angle is when a line drawn through the left front wheel and the right rear wheel is parallel to the kerb. Practice somewhere quiet and get out and look if you have the right angle, and then get back in and remember it.

    5) the only remaining variable is where to put your left rear corner (and therefore wheel) compared to the rear corner of the car next to you so that your front left corner just barely won’t hit it at the end. This is always the same for a given car (and it’s front and rear overhangs) if you are consistent in doing the rest. Nothing else about the other car matters — not the driver’s door, not it’s wheels, nothing.

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  5. Monty (974 comments) says:

    On Saturday in Cable St we watched for five minutes as a woman driver tried so badly to park her little two door hatchback. We were entertained for quite a while before I went up to her and said I will do it. – She so gratefully handed me her keys – I could have had a free car.

    That was my charitable act for the day. Men would never have parking problems – we are just better at at. (except for my dad who was a crap driver.)

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  6. Jack5 (5,007 comments) says:

    Women on average also seem to find it harder to read maps, or is this because my driving is erratic? They’re still smarter than us though.

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  7. MT_Tinman (3,093 comments) says:

    Had a woman once try to parallel park outside the restaurant in Queenstown.

    When we had extricated the lady already in the toilet she drove through her husband had to out and park it properly.

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  8. malcolm (2,000 comments) says:

    Tinman, reading your second sentence made me feel a little pissed.

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  9. RRM (9,773 comments) says:

    “When we had extricated the lady already in the toilet she drove through her husband had to out and park it properly.”

    ^^^THIS STORY… sounds awesome. Would probably be more awesome still if it were in correct English so we could make sense of it! ;-)

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  10. Brian Smaller (4,037 comments) says:

    The only “trouble with women” is that “most women” (citation needed) drive horrible little hatchback cars that are specially designed with high dashboards so you can’t see the front corners of the car, and minimal back windows so you can’t see the rear corners of the car.

    That is what side mirrors are for.

    Although saying that, many people park by ear judging by the scrapes and dings you get in supermarket carparks.

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  11. Pete George (23,427 comments) says:

    And it’s not even parallel parking in supermarkets.

    One simple factor is that (in my experience) females tend to be worse at any reversing. Maybe similar to their difficulty in reading a map unless they and it are facing the correct way, they have difficulty in envisaging things in reverse. They have trouble knowing which way to turn the steering wheel. How many women are good at backing a trailer? It’s all part of the same problem.

    Men invented the controls of a car. If women had invented them they may suit them better. If they had a steering wheel and controls facing the rear of the vehicle they could probably “back” in better.

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  12. Kris K (3,570 comments) says:

    Is anyone surprised by this outcome?

    Psychologists asked 65 volunteers to park an Audi in a sealed-off university car park.

    My question is:
    Why would anyone permit a woman to drive an Audi in the first place?

    And I agree Jack5; never give a woman a map to read if you want to get there on time, or achieve the best/quickest route. If in unfamiliar territory I find it quicker to pull over and check the map myself. Women have their uses, but it isn’t in the map reading or parallel parking, general parking areas :twisted:

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  13. Kris K (3,570 comments) says:

    Pete George 4:41 pm,

    Men invented the controls of a car. If women had invented them they may suit them better. If they had a steering wheel and controls facing the rear of the vehicle they could probably “back” in better.

    But then it wouldn’t be backing, Pete.
    And having one forward gear and five reverse gears may be a bit of a bastard on long trips, not to mention hard on the neck. I can just see the poor husband reversing in fifth gear all the way from Wellington to Auckland.

    And if women can’t back you think they’d do any good at ‘engineering’ a motor vehicle from the ground up? You obviously have more ‘faith’ in their abilities in this regard than I do. Blokes make better engineers than women for the same reason that they’re better at backing.

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  14. malcolm (2,000 comments) says:

    Why would anyone permit a woman to drive an Audi in the first place?

    I know. But it’s hard when they buy one with their own money :-)

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  15. Tauhei Notts (1,678 comments) says:

    Women are excellent at reading maps if you are travelling north on a straight road. Dominion Road in Auckland comes to mind. But if you are travelling south or east or west, they have no show.

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  16. Kris K (3,570 comments) says:

    Malcolm 5:25 pm,

    Why would anyone permit a woman to drive an Audi in the first place?

    I know. But it’s hard when they buy one with their own money.

    You let her have her own money?
    Even if she works, to allow her any discretion on purchases over the value of the weekly food bill is just irresponsible in my opinion.
    And even supermarket shopping requires years of training, patience, and perseverance on the part of him who holds the purse strings.

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  17. grumpyoldhori (2,416 comments) says:

    I will not mention the name of the truck workshop where a male mechanic was having trouble backing backing a curtain sider B train into the workshop.
    Tsk,tsk, lads, having to get a 5′ 3″ female to get it into the shop for you :-)
    Of course the lass has had a bit of practice after four years on line haul.

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  18. Pete George (23,427 comments) says:

    Of course you are joking Kris. Surely?

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  19. malcolm (2,000 comments) says:

    I can never tell with Kris. But I’m sure he’s a thoroughly modern man.

    The Top 10 Stories Of The Last 4.5 Billions Years: Woman Domesticated

    http://www.theonion.com/content/news/woman_domesticated

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  20. Falafulu Fisi (2,179 comments) says:

    Quote:
    Scientists from Ruhr University in Bochum, Germany, found men were better at driving both head-on into the space and reversing into it.

    Scientists? Are they really scientists? These are not scientific work at all. It can be done by statisticians, with no scientific principles involved at all. Often there are many useless studies that have been quoted here at Kiwiblog.

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  21. Brian Smaller (4,037 comments) says:

    Grumpy – when I worked at Foodstuffs there was one loading bay that hardly any trucker could back into without scraping the sides. Except for one joker who could back a B Train in there without any trouble every time. Other drivers would time their drop-offs for when he was there to get him to back their trucks in. It was a joy to watch.

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  22. Leonidas (1,419 comments) says:

    @ Falafulu Fisi,

    Climate scientists in training.

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  23. Kris K (3,570 comments) says:

    Malcolm 9:16 pm,

    I can never tell with Kris. But I’m sure he’s a thoroughly modern man.

    The Top 10 Stories Of The Last 4.5 Billions Years: Woman Domesticated

    http://www.theonion.com/content/news/woman_domesticated

    Very good, Malcolm.

    From the article:

    Once burdened with physically demanding chores, exhausting farm work, and other unpleasant duties, man’s quality of life dramatically improved after his successful domestication of the common woman.

    Though for years women had roamed free throughout most of Asia, Europe, and Africa, experts estimate that by around 3,000 BCE men had begun putting them to work.

    “A valuable commodity with seemingly endless uses, the woman has played a crucial role throughout human history,” noted historian Alan Helbling said. “Not only could she be trained to perform a variety of tasks, but once her spirit was broken and her energies reined in, she could be taught to come whenever she was called.”

    “They’re really quite magnificent creatures,” Helbling added.

    While initially wild, with their own stubborn ideas and desires, Helbling said that women slowly learned to submit to instruction, and over time, showed less and less resistance when being forced to mate. In addition, raising a woman to maturity was considered low maintenance, which meant that a man could expend little effort when attending to her care and feeding.
    [continues]

    Imagine the impact on Global Warming if they still “roamed free throughout most of Asia, Europe, and Africa”. The methane emissions must have been huge. Thank goodness we were able to domesticate them. Once revisionist historians are brought to account, and this truth comes into the public awareness, then our future descendants will thank these brave pioneering men who indeed finally achieved the impossible – the domestication of this wild and headstrong species.

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  24. Kris K (3,570 comments) says:

    Pete George 8:47 pm,

    Of course you are joking Kris. Surely?

    Rumours that I have anything even vaguely resembling a sense of humour are nothing more than malicious lies spread by my enemies. May their hovercraft be filled with dead eels.

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