Women are slightly better at parking than men, concludes a month-long study from a U.K. parking lot operator.
The study by NCP examined the habits of 2,500 drivers. It found that women were better at finding a space, aligning their vehicles to prepare to park, and were more centred when finally parked.
Researchers also found that when a man is driving with a female passenger, he is more likely to "pose park" — in other words, try to impress his female companion — by choosing the smaller of two vacant spaces.
"I was quite surprised by the results, because in my experience men have always been the best learners and usually performed better in lessons," said Neil Beeson, designer of the study and a senior driving instructor on ITV’s Last Chance Driving School.
"However, it’s possible that women have retained the information better. The results also appear to dispel the myth that men have better spatial awareness than women."
More women use 'appropriate' speed
The drivers were given a mark out of 20, based on a number of indicators. Women scored an average of 13.4, while men scored an average of 12.3.
Of the women surveyed, 92 per cent used an "appropriate" speed to find a space, compared to 62 per cent of men. Researchers believe that the slower speed helps women spot vacant spaces that men may not see.
Most drivers prefer to pull into a space. Driving instructors advocate backing into a parking space, but only 39 per cent of women and 28 per cent of men follow their advice.
When it came to parking speed, men were much faster than women. Men took an average of 16 seconds, whereas women took an average of 21 seconds.
Men were also better at positioning the car, with 59 per cent of women and 29 per cent of men doing the "reposition shuffle." However, once the car was parked, researchers found that women were best positioned, thanks to the realigning.
Men overestimate parking times
The study also looked at perceptions of parking. When asked, only 18 per cent of women believed they were better at parking than men, and only 23 per cent believed they were better than their male partners.
Men tended to overestimate parking times for themselves and for women. Those surveyed believed it took them 28 seconds to park, when it only took 16. It took women 21 seconds to park, but 78 per cent of men believed it took them longer.
The study did not indicate how many survey respondents were men and how many women.