Monday, February 14, 2005

An alternative take on driving tests

Well us poor stupid women apparently need more lessons before we pass our driving tests, according to this article in the Guardian. Now we all know that women drivers have less accidents. That's why insurance premiums are lower for women. So maybe the people who give the tests are passing guys too quickly and failing too many women. Maybe - shock horror - they're discriminating, consciously or sub-consciously, against women. Maybe its articles like that one in the guardian, and comments by people like Roger Cummins, the DSA's chief driving examiner, that lead to this perception of women as bad drivers and thus to the discrimination.

Now they claim, and they may be right, that women are more cautious drivers. Women are often failed in driving tests for taking too long pulling out at junctions. Meanwhile men tend to be more rash and decisive, which results in them having more accidents. So should driving examiners stop failing people so quickly for being over-cautious and start failing more people for being over-confident? Might not be a bad plan. Should a responsible paper like the Guardian be printing articles entitled "Women 'need longer to learn to drive'" when we all know that women are better and safer drivers than men? Probably not.

Happy Valentine's Day all. xx


simon said...

Cruella, I have the answer. The driving test should be coursework based, rather than exam based. Then women would do better than men. Personally, as a city cyclist I'd ban all men under 40 from driving at all.

PS I think you should stop reading The Guardian. I'm not sure it's good for you.

Cruella said...

There would certainly be advantages to creating a test that doesn't allow the examiner to know the gender of the candidate (or race, sexual orientation, age, etc). perhaps a car with tinted windows... or just put a camera on the dash and have the examiner sitting in a closed booth watching by satellite link-up?

what newspapers do you recommend for me?

also i am thinking of learning to drive. got any top tips?

simon said...

I can't recommend any daily paper because they are all bloated with knee-jerk opinion and lifestyle rubbish. It's just that The Guardian's articles seem to annoy you a bit. How about a weekly or monthly magazine? I believe Prospect is popular with lefties at the moment. A friend sent me a free copy under a 'recommend us to a friend' scheme. I thought it was just like The Guardian and therefore unsuitable for a person like me. In 1997 that same friend voted for Blair, and just as I was launching into a whinge about my beloved Tories being defeated he told me to shut up because it was so obviously the dawn of a new era of political honesty and efficiency that he wasn't prepared to talk to me about it.

Now for driving tips.

1. Learn to drive while still very young so that there's a good chance Mum and Dad will foot the bill and possibly buy you a cheap car when you pass.

2. Do not leave 12 years between passing your test and getting a car.

Tip 1 might be a bit late for you, but tip 2 is very important if you want to build up your no claims bonus.

Trish said...

I'm female, but I'm not a cautious driver. I'm a terrified, white-knuckle, I'm-Gonna-Die driver. I think that comes from too many times having to drive through Boston, which is one of the Levels of Hell as far as I'm concerned. Plus, I have poor night vision. That doesn't make driving up here any easier for me.

I don't think that passing or failing people depending on how cautious or over-confident would work because most first-time drivers probably err on the cautious side. Driving is a new experience for them. I used to be a relaxed and fairly over-confident driver when I lived in Maryland. I could take on a D. C. traffic circle with the best of them. Plus, I used to cut in like crazy on ramp lanes in rush hour pile ups. I could drive making right-angle turns. I don't do that anymore, because Boston scared the Hell out of me. If drivers were tested, say, every five years, maybe the tests would be more accurate. Plus, they should get points taken off for driving while talking on a cell phone. I can't drive and talk on a cell phone at the same time. I pull over if I need to make a phone call or answer one coming in. I don't want to think about how many accidents have been caused by some yahoo talking on a cell phone.

simon said...

You can't use a cell phone and drive at the same time? Men can.

Trish said...

LOL Simon. I can't talk and drive at the same time. But I can sing and drive. Got the techno cranking in the car all the time.

simon said...

Hello Trish. I don't know whether I can use a cell phone and drive at the same time. I've never tried, and besides it's illegal in the UK. I doubt I can as I'm always having minor bumps in my car while concentrating quite hard on my driving.I was hoping to spur Cruella into a comment explaining the your inability to do so.

Cruella said...

Tut tut tut Simon, how many times have i told you not to extrapolate too far from one single case study? Anyway looks like I will be starting some lessons soon so I may have some first-hand experience of the whole thing.