Why are women weaker at tasks requiring spacial abilities (e.g. - driving)?

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  1. Nadeeshan301 profile image66
    Nadeeshan301posted 12 years ago

    Lady drivers tend to face car accidents, causing minor damages to the sides of the vehicle. Is this due to their comparatively poor ability to judge the width of the vehicle?

    1. Andme26 profile image63
      Andme26posted 12 years agoin reply to this

      lack of concentration ...

    2. IzzyM profile image86
      IzzyMposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      I think studies have shown that women have less highly tuned spacial abilities.

      I admit that when it comes to parking, I see a space and think it too small, but when I actually draw level with the parking space usually find that there is actually room for a double-decker bus to get in, which means I could have used it after all!

      That said, I think the reason why so many women are poor drivers is because they don't drive enough! Usually it is the men who drive the family car, or use it every day for work. The woman may use the car for shopping once a week or something and so she does not have the confidence that men drivers do.

      In my experience, woman are not often involved in accidents, but they cause plenty! Driving slowly and nervously upsets other drivers, and makes one more likely to 'take a chance' and overtake her. That is where a lot of accidents happen.

      And yes, I am a woman driver.

      I was also a professional driver for many years and my experience taught me that drivers doing stupid things that cause accidents nearly always turn out to be a woman.

    3. psycheskinner profile image83
      psycheskinnerposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      The actual data does not back this up.  Insurance data suggests women have fewer accidents than men.

    4. habee profile image92
      habeeposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      According to car insurance companies, women have fewer auto accidents than men.

    5. profile image50
      hub page contribuposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      First of all: generalizing!

      Second of all: I know a lot of women drivers who are excellent at driving. 

      I also know a lot of men who lose their tempers very quickly when they're behind the wheel.  When people get angry, they're often not in complete control of their actions are may be more inclined to have an accident.

      A lot of men are distracted by women in; other cars, pedestrians, etc. and can be more inclined to have an accident.

      The ability to judge the width of anything is determined by the individual, not the gender.

  2. wilderness profile image95
    wildernessposted 12 years ago

    Women are generally poorer than men at anything to do with spacial abilities.  It probably comes from our ancient history when we were hunter-gatherers; men spent the time in the field hunting (where the ability to judge space and distance determines whether you will eat or not) while women more often spent the time at "home" caring for children, cooking, gathering berries, etc.

    There are lots of differences in the sexes; this is just one of them.

    1. Hollie Thomas profile image62
      Hollie Thomasposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      I believe Nadeeshan you are referring to spacial awareness, whilst there is some evidence to suggest that men, generally speaking, have a greater spacial awareness, driving is a particularly bad example. Many studies, often undertaken by insurance companies, suggest that women are far better drivers than men, which is why, certainly in the UK, insurance for women is cheaper.

      1. wilderness profile image95
        wildernessposted 12 years agoin reply to this

        There are two aspects to the driving angle.

        I believe men are generally better able to handle the car; to make it do what they want it to do.  Comparatively speaking, there are virtually no women race car drivers and part of this is because men do a better job of making that car do exactly what they want it to do.  A portion of this ability relates to spacial abilities; is that car next to me 2" away or 6"?  Is my tire at the edge of the pavement or 3" inside the edge?

        Women, on the other hand, have fewer accidents and those accidents are not usually as bad - this is what the insurance companies are looking at and why rates are lower for women (they are in the US, too).  Women typically drive slower, take fewer chances and don't drive drunk as often.  When the roads are covered in ice they stay home while the men go out and play and slide around on it.  You won't find too many women heading for a snowy parking lot to see if they can slide their car sideways, but that was exactly what I did when I bought a new car with stability control.  I want to know just what the car can do and how it will react- women don't care because they will seldom push it to the limit.

        It's all in what you are looking for.

        1. Hollie Thomas profile image62
          Hollie Thomasposted 12 years agoin reply to this

          I also think men are more confident drivers than women, but sometimes it's overconfidence resulting in the risks men take when driving.

          1. wilderness profile image95
            wildernessposted 12 years agoin reply to this

            Absolutely.  Men can do anything in a car (especially when drunk), at least in their own minds.  Of course, that's part of the learning process, until you have tried to drift a car around a corner you have no idea of how to do it.  Only after you've tried several times can you do it consistently and women won't try because they know better.

            1. Aficionada profile image80
              Aficionadaposted 12 years agoin reply to this

              Doesn't this explain a lot of the difference between the sexes?

              1. wilderness profile image95
                wildernessposted 12 years agoin reply to this

                Partially.  Attitude certainly plays a part; men are greater risk takers and some of their learned abilities come from this as do their failures and higher accidental death rate.

                There are also many physical differences that stem from evolution as well, such as the spacial ability being discussed here.  Men typically "see" movement better than women for instance; it comes from evolving as a hunter.  Women can usually multi-task better than men but conversely have a harder time concentrating on just one thing - again from evolving living as they did.

                1. Hollie Thomas profile image62
                  Hollie Thomasposted 12 years agoin reply to this

                  It's interesting though, regarding the spacial awareness issue. My son is dyspraxic and during one of the evaluations he was asked to close his eyes and point to his nose, all basic stuff, but when I was chatting with the consultant she told me that girls at age 7,  the age he was then, are generally far better at imagining where certain features are on their face when their eyes are closed. (obviously not when they are dyspraxic) than boys.

                  1. wilderness profile image95
                    wildernessposted 12 years agoin reply to this

                    A couple of possibilities occur to me.

                    Girls at that age are more developed, both physically and mentally, than boys.  It could be nothing more than that.

                    Girls have probably seen their face (mirrors) far more at that age than boys have.  Boys are not interested in their appearance, while girls are.  If they were to close their eyes, turn, and point to chair in the corner of the room the results could be very different.

                    The differences, and their causes, between sub groups of the same species are endlessly interesting.

        2. ibbarkingmad profile image58
          ibbarkingmadposted 12 years agoin reply to this

          Wouldn't this behavior be explained by gender roles? I have met girls who do this because they are the only girl in the family and so are tom boys.

      2. Aficionada profile image80
        Aficionadaposted 12 years agoin reply to this


  3. starme77 profile image75
    starme77posted 12 years ago

    I dunno - but why can't men have babies ?

    1. wilderness profile image95
      wildernessposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      I've seen speculation that an embryo could be implanted onto the intestinal wall, grow to birth size and be delivered by cesarean.

      Possible or not, I'll pass on this one.

  4. Jaymye Allen profile image59
    Jaymye Allenposted 12 years ago

    Well, at first I was offended, I am a woman driver after all. However, after reopening my mind (and calming down; I have a short temper, LOL). I read all the responses and decided that most of what was posted has some basis in fact, and are all good, intelligent answers.
    However, I must voice my opinion and say women can be absolute terrors on the road; they have very little situational awareness outside the vehicle, they do not know where the boundaries of their vehicles are (as stated in another post) and they are not always confident in their abilities (also stated in another post). However, as a woman driver with only three accidents in the 20+ years I have been driving, some of us are very, very good drivers and can do it almost better than our spouses/partners. I think it is, as Wilderness said, all in what you want.
    Either way a fun subject to talk, argue and think on.

  5. melbel profile image94
    melbelposted 12 years ago

    I don't know if that's exactly true. I mean, yeah there are studies showing that women in various cultures have a difference in spatial abilities compared to men... depending on the culture. However, I don't see how women are worse driver's than men. I know that my car insurance is cheaper as a female here in the States. I figured this is because studies show that women are actually safer drivers.

    1. wilderness profile image95
      wildernessposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      Define "better driver".  Safer of able to consistently drive 100 mph around a 35 mph corner while all four tires slide sideways?

      If "better driver" means either fewer accidents or less severe accidents there is little doubt that women are better. 

      If it means a greater understanding of the capabilities of a car being driven at the edge of what it can do and the ability to drove that way I think that men are better.

      Both are very general, of course.  I've had one fender bender, caused by another driver, in about 1,000,000 miles and over 40 years of driving.  I know women that could outdrive me every time in a road race.  They are both very broad generalities and exceptions abound.

  6. ibbarkingmad profile image58
    ibbarkingmadposted 12 years ago

    Statistically men are more likely to get into high speed accidents while women tend to get in low speed accidents. An assumption that that means women are not good at specialized skills is stupid though. There are money women with specialized skills that are amazing at their jobs. Rather, this phenomena can be explained by gender culture. The assumption that men are better at driving then women is a good example. The gender culture assigns these roles to women and men and when there are individuals that prove this cultural assumption these examples are help up as proof while the opposite is ignored. This is the same false logic that justified slavery. The argument was that blacks and other races were inferior so therefore they could not develop higher thinking etc. The rare exceptions to this were look at like a monkey being taught to play the piano and any argument that it was lack of education was laughed at.
    So this is with this particular argument. This is not to say that there are tasks that women do better than men and visa versa. To the contrary, there are money tasks that one gender can do better than another due to body structure. That being said, the assumption of the superiority or inferiority of one sex over the other based on shallow statistics is ignorant.

    1. ibbarkingmad profile image58
      ibbarkingmadposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      Sorry for error there, I meant meany. LOL!

      1. Jaymye Allen profile image59
        Jaymye Allenposted 12 years agoin reply to this

        Intellectually, you are correct, IB. However, no matter the day and age, there will always be 'battle of the sexes' and, intellectually, we can happily argue and talk about it.

  7. Disturbia profile image62
    Disturbiaposted 12 years ago

    Women weaker at tasks requiring spacial abilities, e.g. driving?  Please, woman can apply mascara and eyeliner while driving, how's that for spacial abilities?

    1. Jaymye Allen profile image59
      Jaymye Allenposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      As far as spacial abilities, what does putting makeup on while driving down the highway have to do with anything!? I, personally, think that is what perpetuates the accusation of bad driving for women.

  8. Cardisa profile image89
    Cardisaposted 12 years ago

    This Post is an insult to women!

    1. wilderness profile image95
      wildernessposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      Why?  Do you really think that men and women are exactly equal in every respect?  Do you not think that each have, in general, their own strengths and weaknesses?

  9. Maralexa profile image84
    Maralexaposted 12 years ago

    agree with Cardisa

  10. lockgirl profile image60
    lockgirlposted 12 years ago

    and the proper spelling is SPECIAL not spacial. try again.

    1. Uninvited Writer profile image80
      Uninvited Writerposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      Actually, spatial, in terms of space...look it up.

      And i do find it insulting to women, not every single woman has the same abilities.

    2. habee profile image92
      habeeposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      I think the poster meant "spatial," having to do with space or distance.

      1. wilderness profile image95
        wildernessposted 12 years agoin reply to this

        And you are both correct.  I simply followed along in this thread (spell checker didn't catch it) even though it didn't look right.

        Does this mean that women are better spellers? smile  Can they spell while they drive?

        1. habee profile image92
          habeeposted 12 years agoin reply to this

          After teaching thousands of kids, I would DEF say that girls, in general, are better spellers. Boys are usually better in math, however.

    3. Cardisa profile image89
      Cardisaposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      Wilderness, I did not say I disagreed with the topic I simply said it was insulting.

      I do agree that men are better at some things while women are better at others...suffice it to say that research, not only in the US but other countries as well, show that there are less accidents caused by women drivers.

      I do agree that women cause a lot of accidents, that is when crossing the road and the man stares, forgetting he's at the wheel. Yeah we cause accidents all the while, just smile at a guy while he's driving. Not you tell me who has the more spatial ability.

      1. wilderness profile image95
        wildernessposted 12 years agoin reply to this

        I still don't see how it is insulting.  As you say, men and women have different strengths and weaknesses.  A statement of fact, and nothing to be insulted over.

        On the other hand I could well take offense that you indicate men in general are unable to pay attention to their driving when women are around; that they actually forget they are at the wheel.  It happens, yes, and to probably about the same extent that women forget they are actually driving while putting makeup on.

        As far as better drivers, I have made several posts questioning what means - whether it means simply a safer driver or one that understands the vehicle better and can, more often, use it at the very limits of its capabilities.  If you wish to define it merely as a matter of safety and accident rates I wholly agree that women are the better drivers.  If that definition is used, however, it has little to do with spatial abilities and far more to do with caution and an aversion to taking risks.

        1. habee profile image92
          habeeposted 12 years agoin reply to this

          I think men are usually better at actually handling and maneuvering a vehicle, but women are safer, and women lack the testosterone poisoning that makes men want to be daredevils! lol

          1. wilderness profile image95
            wildernessposted 12 years agoin reply to this

            And I think you are exactly right.  Which is an indication that men have a better spatial recognition and ability than women - it is necessary to handle a car at peak levels.  There are other factors, but that is a large one.

            Maybe women just need a large dose of testosterone - decrease the population levels, you know! smile

  11. IzzyM profile image86
    IzzyMposted 12 years ago

    Gosh it is spatial and not spacial as I repeated. Oops!

    I think the poster who posted it was 'special' and not spacial was being sardonic. Women are special smile Keep telling myself that anyway!
    Lots of interesting perspectives in this thread, but I still think I got it right.

    While there are some great women drivers out there (and I know because I am one of them) there are more accidents caused by women drivers then any other.

    They are not involved of course, they have been that busy worrying about putting on their lipstick or whatever that they haven't even noticed the carnage behind them.

    Girls, the rear view mirror is to keep you in touch with other road users, not for applying makeup!

    1. wilderness profile image95
      wildernessposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      Yes, some women are special, like my wife.  Some are also spatial, like me. big_smile

    2. Extinct Soul profile image61
      Extinct Soulposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      Maybe the OP was writing this while in a passenger seat of a girl's car..big_smile For mascara's sake give 'em a benefit of the doubt.

    3. Hollie Thomas profile image62
      Hollie Thomasposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      Or sometimes rear view mirrors are used by women to communicate with the kids when they're shouting ' are we there yet' or 'he's just hit me'

  12. Cardisa profile image89
    Cardisaposted 12 years ago

    Aren't you taking this far too seriously Wilderness. As you may have noticed I was just trying to bring a little humor to the post.

    1. wilderness profile image95
      wildernessposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      Then I most sincerely apologize.  It went right over my little pinhead and I didn't catch it.

      SOP on these forums - without body language and facial expressions I often don't understand what is being meant.

  13. Jcroichy profile image61
    Jcroichyposted 12 years ago

    Sometimes I think our chemical imbalance at  times can get the best of us. I know if I'm moody, I think to be a little out of it on the wheel because I'm just thinking too much. So, I tend to calm down and clear my mind before driving. Drive Safe everyone

  14. profile image0
    Emile Rposted 12 years ago

    There's a simple explanation. Since women do appear to get more dents and dings while maneuvering in parking situations, think about height and car shape. Women usually have shorter torsos. Their line of vision while sitting in the driver's seat usually prohibits their ability to see the curve of the front of the vehicle. Couple that with the fact that women tend to know less about vehicle shape and standard engine size; it's difficult to gauge if you've got room or not.

    Rear view creates the same scenario. Scrapes on the sides of the car do probably denote the simple fact that someone wasn't paying attention. But, it's been my observation that women have a lesser number of highway accidents and the severity is usually no where near the damage an accident by a man will inflict on the vehicle.

    So, all in all, we're definitely better drivers. smile

    1. Hollie Thomas profile image62
      Hollie Thomasposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      Right on, most cars are designed by men for men.

  15. Chaotic Chica profile image61
    Chaotic Chicaposted 12 years ago

    This was a hard one for me to read.  There is validity in what alot of what was posted and, if we are speaking simply in the broad term of things, I suppose can agree to see where this idea of women being weaker spacially comes in.

    That being said I think a great deal of it is dependant upon the person.  My mother rode a motorcycle, drove a full size pickup truck daily, and drove a dump truck for a landscaping company.  I learned to drive on said pickup, drove a 16 passenger van frequently as my position required it, ride a motorcycle, and still drive large vehicles (read: vehicles designed for men).  I am only 5'2" and have never had any difficulty driving or parking said vehicles. 

    The point is that I was never told that I'd be inherently worse at driving these vehicles because of my gender and I haven't been.  Therefore it is my opinion that women are only weaker because they choose to be; not consciously but because society says they are and they get it in their heads that it is true.

    1. wilderness profile image95
      wildernessposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      Saying that your personal abilities are applicable to all women in general is like saying that men all have great accident records because I've had 0 at-fault accidents in 40 years. 

      Because I drive safely doesn't mean that men in general do and because you are more than able to handle large rigs doesn't mean that women in general are as good at that task.  There is often a large difference between an individuals abilities and those of the average person;  If there weren't we would all be major league baseball players earning millions each year!

      1. Chaotic Chica profile image61
        Chaotic Chicaposted 12 years agoin reply to this

        That is why I said that I can concede to accept the topic of this post as a generality.  I know that not all women can do what I do, I've often been in a minority at a work place for doing things typically reserved for men (I'm a certified welder and motorcycle mechanic, too).  For me, I do what I find to offer the greatest satisfaction and that just happens to be many of the things men find so fullfilling.   The fact that I am phyically capable despite being a woman never really occured to me.  I get that my abilities don't apply to all women.  I just feel that not all women take the risk to find out where their limitations are.

        There IS a great difference between individuals and a group as a whole.  My best friend (female) is a horrible driver!  Consider how an individual can handle traumatic news but give the same information to a group and you're likely to witness panic. 

        I just hate seeing people judge a group as a whole based on generalities.  That was the part hard for me but, it is what it is and who am I to argue?  smile

        1. wilderness profile image95
          wildernessposted 12 years agoin reply to this

          We would certainly be far better off if we would push ourselves a little to get a little closer to our limits.  No one wants to live right at the edge of the abilities all the time but most can do far more than they think they can.  Sounds like you have done well by pushing yourself a little and you've found out you can do far more as a result.  I know I have.  (Shoot, I even learned to write hubs!smile )

          I think it's fine to talk generalities, but one must always remember that generalities do not apply to individuals.  It's like saying that people can swim, just not as well as a dolphin.  While that is true, there are a lot of people that can't swim a lick!

          1. Chaotic Chica profile image61
            Chaotic Chicaposted 12 years agoin reply to this

            Precicely! smile


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