- Women most likely to fail driving tests for parking or reversing faults
- Men more guilty of driving recklessly or ignoring mirrors and signs
- However twice as many females as males faulted on reverse parking
As a stereotype of the fairer sex, it’s right up there with their supposed inability to change a plug or assemble flatpack furniture.
But official proof has now emerged that appears to settle one long-running skirmish in the battle of the sexes – women really cannot park the car.
New data reveals that women drivers are most likely to fail their driving tests for parking or reversing faults, while men are more guilty of driving recklessly or ignoring mirrors and road signs.
But the greatest gender disparities emerged when drivers were asked to park. When tasked with every learner’s nightmare, reverse parking, there were twice as many faults committed by females as by males.
While the latter committed 1,652 errors by failing to control their car during the manoeuvre, the figure rose sharply to 3,367 among women.
RAC spokesman Pete Williams said yesterday: ‘The debate about who makes the better drivers, men or women, is almost as old as the motor car itself.
‘These results do apparently demonstrate that there are some differences when it comes to reversing and parallel parking. Clearly, there are some traits and talents that are more prominent in the different sexes.’
The figures, released under freedom of information legislation, show that women learners committed 68,217 serious or dangerous faults while sitting practical tests in Scotland last year, compared to 52,144 by men.
But the figures from the Driving Standards Agency provided some ammunition for women drivers as well, as more men proved to be guilty of a wider range of faults in tests.
Jim Kirkwood, managing director of AA Driving School, said: ‘Problems like failing to stop at traffic signs and issues with manoeuvring are more likely to come down to nerves on the day.
‘If you fail your test for something like failing to stop or incorrect use of mirrors, then you really need to work on your observation skills before you try the test again.
‘If manoeuvring is your downfall, then practice is the key, as well as remaining calm on the day.
‘Learners, regardless of their gender, should get a good night’s sleep, take some deep breaths before they start and try to remember they wouldn’t be taking their test if their instructor didn’t think they were ready.’
The category failed by the fewest drivers in 2012 was lack of knowledge of the Highway Code.
Traditionally, lower car insurance premiums enjoyed by women suggest they go on to become safer drivers than men.