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Do women have more trouble than men at parallel parking?

Mind you, I’m not dissing the ladies here. But there was a call from a femal caller this week about this very topic.

From my experience with various girlfriends and their parking, women have more problem with parallel parking than men do.

Don’t get me wrong. Women have many skills men don’t. For example communication. Everyone has their own set of skills. I’m just saying …

And maybe it is just that if a man finds he can’t parallel park, he doesn’t try to do it again. He just keeps driving until he finds a place to park where he can just pull in.

But I think it’s more than that. I think women have a more difficult time with this procedure than do men. Does anyone else notice this?

Maybe it is from the cave man days. Men had a chance to develop spatial-timing skills while running down a rabbit for dinner. Women meanwhile were talking to each other about how to better the local community.

It’s just a theory, I’m just saying is all … other opinions?

Some are better than others, gender is not a determining factor, imhop.

Unless anyone of us has studied this topic, we’ll be forming our opinion based on our lifelong personal experiences and observations.

Mine lead me to conclude parallel parking abilities are independent of gender.

I don't see any meaningful difference.

One thing to consider with both genders is that most folks get very little practice nowadays with parallel parking. While I was once very good at parallel parking, I think that my skills may have declined at least to some extent over the years, as a result of lack of practice.

This has a lot to do with where one lives, but, to be perfectly honest, 99+% of my parking nowadays is in parking lots or parking garages. On the rare occasions when I drive into an urban area, I might have to find a parking space on a street, but this happens…maybe…twice a year. On those rare occasions, I think that I am probably going back & forth in the space a bit more than I did years ago when I had to park on city streets frequently.

Women -vs- men ?..nope.
That’s the same twisted-logic study results as if they’d said ‘‘people wearing red do worse that those wearing blue.’’
( I wear blue work uniforms and can zip in a parallel parking place on BOTH the right and left curbs…in an Expedition ! )
The ‘‘study’’ is flawed by virtue of their narrow sampling base. One would have to base a study on the learning curve of novice drivers with equal instruction and practice , male and female, old and young, city and rural, tall and short, black-white-navajo-mexican-arab, rich and poor etc, and then look at many other variables that could be called a difference as well.

It’s all a matter of practice and experience no matter.

I’m the guy who’ll choose the parallel space and be inside the store in seconds while the other guy wastes five minutes circling the block. My wife…not ! My daughter , yes. My son , no. see it equals out based on experience with the task.

It’s called anecdotal evidence or circumstantial evidence when you take A difference of any kind and claim it to be THE defining factor.

OK, I will say the politicaly incorect thing. ! am 70+ years old and it has been my observation that women (generaly, not specificaly) are less willing to parallel park than men. I thinl it has to do with the male ego. Men have more pride wrapped up in all things automotive. Like all generalities, it can’t be applied to everyone.

For example, I am sure that female race car drivers have just as much pride in their driving, however, there are fewer of them than male racers (Observation and generality).

I don’t think gender has anything to do with it. I taught my son and daughter to drive in the same year. She was twice as fast as learning as he was. I think it all comes down to the ability to learn and attitude. My son questioned everything and asked a ton of questions. My daughter asked a few pertinent questions and went on about her business.

A touchy subject! In our familiy, my wife refuses to parallel park. She never learned. She did her local driver’s test in her 20s and 7 months pregnant. The examiner took pity on her; it’s hard to turn around in the driver’s seat and look back, the way many guys do it.

She has at least 4 friends who do not parallel park.

That does not mean that women can’t learn to parallel park. I think it’ a matter of interest.

I learned to sew on buttons in the army out of necessity.

My sample of two: I can’t parallel park worth beans. (I’m male). My previous girlfriend could, and essayed to show me once how to, but the effort was unsuccessful.


“That does not mean that women can’t learn to parallel park. I think it’s a matter of interest. I learned to sew on buttons in the army out of necessity.”

Most people can learn most things…if they are interested enough to put in the effort to learn. It’s all about motivation, in many instances.

For example, many years ago, I worked with a woman who never took her turn at making coffee for everyone in the office. We were supposed to have a rotation of duty, but she never stepped up to the plate and just allowed everyone else to do the work. When I questioned her on this point one day (very nicely and civilly, I might add), her response was, “Oh, I don’t know how to make coffee”.

My response was, “Really, Dora? You managed to become fluent in both French and Italian, to learn how to drive, to raise several children, and to earn a Master’s Degree, but you can’t seem to master the task of making coffee?”

She just smiled at me and repeated, “I don’t know how to make coffee”.

In reality, she had been a child of privilege who had been catered to by her parents, and who went on to marry a very successful architect, and to have a maid in her home. What her statement really meant was…I’m not motivated enough to make coffee when others will do it for me.

I think men are generally more mechanically inclined, and women are generally more compassionate. And parallel parking is a purely mechanical process.

I think it’s time we stop being afraid to say that men and women are, by and large, different. Just because a difference exists does not mean that there’s bias, discrimination, or inequality. Its’ just a recognition of reality. How we act toward these differences is where bias or discrimination comes into play.

We’re different. Always have been. And that’s okay. Even good. And one of those differences is reflected in those skills necessary to parallel park.

That does not mean that there aren’t women that are more mechanically inclined than men, and it doesn;t mean that there aren’t men that are more compassionate than womon, but by and large(now there is a good statistical term for ya’) I believe men are better parallel parkers.

Those kind of generalities are really worthless.

You can’t make a conclusion based on such a small sample rate and very very limited view.

Based on Insurance studies…women are much better drivers then men. That’s why their insurance rates are much lower.

I agree that women are better drivers @MikeInNH – at least women are safer drivers, less likely to get in a serious accident. That’s my experience anyway. And it seems to agree with the insurance studies you reference. All else being equal,from a safe trip point of view, I much prefer to be a passenger in a car that a woman is driving than a man. But are safe driving and parallel parking related? I wonder.

I am a woman. I am also pretty darned good at parallel parking, even though it’s a skill I rarely use anymore. Different car models can parallel park quite differently.

When I was in driver’s ed, lo, these many decades past, we were taught essentially the same technique as Tom and Ray’s parallel parking instructions from this show. We were firmly told that this method worked on all cars, regardless of size or model. Not true. The method worked beautifully with sedans but not so much with two-door coupes (with very long hoods housing the V8s of the time).

After being made to feel stupid and very frustrated while practicing in just such a coupe, I suggested the driver’s ed instructor get behind the wheel and show me himself how to do it. He couldn’t do it either, not using the prescribed technique. Ha.

Since then, I have learned to compensate for awkward vehicle body proportions when parallel parking.

No compensation is necessary, however, with my 2001 Volvo wagon. Using the traditional parallel parking technique, it slides into the space pretty much perfectly every time. I am convinced just about anyone can parallel park that car without much fuss simply because of the body design, so my ability to do so isn’t exactly awe-inspiring.

The caller may just have to take the time to practice parallel parking and find the precise formula that works best with her vehicle, then stick to that formula.

A further caveat: The biggest mistake I see people make when parallel parking is not to pull up far enough before beginning the maneuver. Your rear bumper has to be even with the rear bumper of the car behind which you will be parking. It’s so much easier to do, without the all the nerve-wracking, embarrassing backing and forthing, if you just get started right!

I have a single mom neighbor, a medical respiratory tech & ex-gymnast, who has amaizing mechanical skills. She will install her own appliances, built a steel garden shed and even reinforced the floor of her laundry room to acommodate her new front loader washer, which vibrates more than the traditional type.

I help her with trimming high tree branches with my electric pole chainsaw, but otherwise she does not need any help.

But for each one of those there are others who basically shy away from “men’s work”, such as cutting grass, painting, gardening. etc. My late mother-in-law was in that category. But I suspect her husband’s European traditional upbringing had a lot to do with it as well.

Perhaps the biggest mistake I see is that people turn too sharply to start and maintaine the turned wheels too long. I taught my daughter how to parallel park buy getting three toy cars, one with steerable front wheels, and using a wooden stick as a curb. I showed her the mistakes, the correct way, and discussed the idea of aiming the rear of her car at the front of the car behind her rather than focusing on turning as tightly as possible. She was then able to parallel park perfectly every time.

I agree -Some are better than others, gender is not a determining factor.

I read somehwhere that Queen Elizabeth of England and her sister drove trucks and worked in a motor pool on the engines during WW II. I’ll bet she could parallel park a vehicle.

I think IF women are worse at parallel parking than men, it may be height related. My wife is 5’3" tall. I’m almost a foot taller. I can put a Crown Vic into a spot 5’ longer than the car on either side of a street in one shot. My wife can’t, even with a spot probably 10’ longer than the car. I suspect it may have something to do with her inability to see all four corners of the car.

I’ve also long suspected that she missed the day in driver’s ed when the instructor discussed and demonstrated backing up, but that’s another story.

YellowstoneValleyGirl, how tall are you?