Women are Better Parkers Than Men
By Melissa Bean Sterzick
The battle of the sexes is a war that will never end. Nobody’s going to give up and nobody’s going to win. Whatever stereotypes we choose to apply, men will always be the dolts who pee on the toilet seat and waste hours watching basketball on TV, and women will always be the airheads who are overly obsessed with their hair, decorating and shopping. Guys can’t cook, change a diaper or pick up after themselves; chicks hog the bathroom, forget to have their oil changed, and accidentally fudge up the DVR settings so “Dancing With the Stars” preempts several pivotal games during March Madness. Men are boneheads and women are prima donnas. Reverse the stereotypes or apply them to culture, science, politics or sports, and the outcome is the same. However you want to put it, we are different. But women came out well ahead in a recent skirmish, and it’s with great pleasure I announce something half the world already suspected and the other half will deny and then forget completely. A parking lot operator in the United Kingdom called National Car Parks (NCP) conducted a monthlong study in which it evaluated how men and women park. To create a “parking coefficient,” the NCP Parking Report covered different aspects of parking, including technique, accuracy and time taken to park. The study, carried out among 2,500 drivers by NCP, revealed that out of a maximum score of 20, women have an average parking coefficient of 13.4. The average score for men was 12.3. Women proved their superiority in several important areas: They drove more slowly through the lot and so found a parking spot faster; their “pre-parking pose” was more accurate; and they parked in the center of their stall more reliably than men. To summarize further: Women scored better at following speed limits – 92% did vs. just 64% of men. Men parked 5 seconds faster, but only 25% of them ended up in the center of the parking stall on their first attempt, compared with 53% of women. About 77% of women take the time to find the correct “approach angle” to a parking spot vs. 53% of men. I have frequently noted my husband’s strange parking strategy, and in one aspect, it fits perfectly with the results shown in the NCP study: He zips by at least five empty parking spots before he slows down enough to get into one. I can’t understand why he does that … But there are a lot of things about him I don’t get even after 15 years of marriage: such as why he tells me the life story of his favorite college basketball team’s center and thinks I will actually be interested. Or why he can’t see the whiskers he leaves all over the bathroom sink when he shaves. And no amount of couple’s counseling is going to change the annoying way he eats cereal. Despite the cereal thing, my husband was really good at changing diapers during our diaper days (which, mercifully, ended a year and half ago). He also was an Eagle Scout and so very handy in an emergency or camping trip. And in a slight crossover characteristic, he’s excellent at choosing paint colors. Last but not least, he’s very good at parallel parking – almost as good as I am – and I say that because my car is twice as big as his and that counts for something, right? National Car Parks is the UK’s largest private parking lot company. It operates lots in more than 700 locations and has with more than 200,000 parking spaces. Rather than waste all the great data it gathered, the company is addressing the specific needs of both sexes. “Parking is our business, so we carried out the research to see how well people park their cars. As an interesting by-product of the research, we’ve also found out that there’s a difference in parking skills between the sexes, although perhaps not the way most people expected,” Jo Cooper, NCP’s female chief executive, said in a press release. As a result of the research, and to help people park better, NCP is looking to install parking aids in many of its carparks, she said. “[They] will include ‘stop lollipops’ at the back of each space and raised ‘park central’ markers in the front of the bays so drivers can align their tires and park in the center of the space. This addresses two areas that people seemed to struggle with,” Cooper added. It feels good to have this issue settled once and for all. There are many similar points of dissention between the genders that ought to be resolved. A few things we already know are that women live longer, tolerate pain better, and are more effective at multitasking. While I write this column, I’m actually cooking a roast, minding two children, and acting as my own general contractor on the remodel of my bathroom. In a few minutes, I will go wipe the whiskers off the counter in my bathroom and then take a moment to tinker with the DVR. Later, I will head to the mall for some retail therapy, where I will park safely, quickly and accurately, with pride in myself and my gender, and buy a pair of shoes I do not need. Melissa Bean Sterzick is an Amateur Parker and PT’s proofreader. She can be reached at Melissa@parkingtoday.com. For complete results of the NCP study, visit www.ncp.co.uk and click on “News & Events” (in small type) near the bottom of the home page.