1 in 7 women describe their sense of direction as woeful

 

28% of men simply won’t ask for directions

Men declare themselves to be better map-readers than women and are far less likely to ask for directions, according to a survey of over 13,000 Irish motorists carried out by the AA.

“Most of us can get confused or lost from time to time, especially on weekends like this when many of us will be on unfamiliar roads or driving longer distances.” Says John Farrell, Director of AA Insurance.

While 57% of female motorists on Irish roads believe they have an excellent sense of direction, a further 13.4% have admitted that theirs is frustratingly poor meaning they often have to rely on SatNavs, their passengers and a lot of forward planning when driving to somewhere unfamiliar.

Whether pride or just plain fact, only 4% of the 7,700 male motorists surveyed during the same AA Motor Insurance Poll classified their sense of direction as chronically bad.  At 76.4%, 20% more males than females expressed a belief that they have a natural aptitude for finding their way around and committing new routes to memory.

A map seemingly isn’t much good to some women out there either.  9.8% of the 5,400 women polled by AA Motor Insurance said they find map reading quite tricky.  However despite the obvious stereotype, the majority of women aren’t so perplexed; 56.8% of the female drivers surveyed described themselves as proficient map readers.

Just 1.8% of the males surveyed said they find using a road atlas difficult.  Inversely, 81% said they are very confident in their map reading skills.

“I think it’s safe to say that spatial orientation varies quite a bit from person to person.” Says Farrell.  “Getting lost or confused can be a huge distraction and even quite dangerous.  If you get lost find somewhere safe to pull in, get your bearings and take a deep breath so that you can focus fully on driving when you get back out onto the road.”

The AA also advises motorists to do their homework first and download their route for free via AA Route Planner: the free online tool is available at www.theaa.ie/routes.ie

The AA Motor Insurance Poll also reveals that directional road signs or indeed lack thereof is a major bug bear for both sexes.  A number of respondents ranted that they’d followed a directional sign only to be sent in completely the wrong direction.  Others condemned the Irish network of signs as archaic and completely inadequate in comparison to other Western European countries.

Giving credence to another classic gender based driver stereotype, female drivers emerged as far more likely to stop and ask for directions than men.  50.6% of the women compared to 31% of the men polled by AA Motor Insurance said they wouldn’t hesitate to roll down their window or stop off to get directions when lost.

As many as 27.6% of men however said they’d be very unlikely to ask a local for directions even if they hadn’t a notion where they were.  Just 12.2% of females drivers said the same.

Notes to the editor;

Fig. 1 How the motorists surveyed would rate themselves in terms of the following (based on 13,309 responses):

  Excellent.  Very good. Average. Quite poor. Very poor. Doesn’t apply.
Your road map reading skills. 32.4% 39.4% 23.1% 3.5% 1.6% 0.2%
Your sense of direction while driving. 26.8% 41.5% 24.0% 5.5% 2.3% 0.1%
Following directional road signs. 27.9% 50.8% 19.8% 1.4% 0.3% 0.2%
Interpreting when your SatNav is sending you off route. (I.e. directing you down a one-way-street etc.) 14.7% 28.3% 17.1% 2.8% 0.8% 36.7%

 Fig. 2 How the MALE motorists surveyed would rate themselves in terms of the following (based on 7,701 responses):

  Excellent. Very good. Average. Quite poor. Very poor. Doesn’t apply.
Your road map reading skills. 38.9% 42.1% 17.2% 1.4% 0.4% 0.2%
Your sense of direction while driving. 31.9% 44.5% 19.7% 2.9% 1.1% 0.1%
Following directional road signs. 30.6% 50.6% 17.7% 1.1% 0.2% 0.2%
Interpreting when your SatNav is sending you off route. (I.e. directing you down a one-way-street etc.) 18.7% 32.4% 15.6% 1.9% 0.5% 31.1%

Fig. 3 How FEMALE motorists surveyed would rate themselves in terms of the following (based on 5,400 responses):

  Excellent. Very good. Average. Quite poor. Very poor. Doesn’t apply.
Your road map reading skills. 23.1% 35.8% 31.3% 6.4% 3.4% 0.2%
Your sense of direction while driving. 19.5% 37.3% 30.0% 9.4% 4.0% 0.0%
Following directional road signs. 23.9% 51.2% 22.8% 1.8% 0.4% 0.3%
Interpreting when your SatNav is sending you off route. (I.e. directing you down a one-way-street etc.) 8.8% 22.5% 19.4% 4.1% 1.2% 44.5%

Fig. 4 How likely the motorists surveyed indicated they were likely to stop and ask for directions if they got lost while driving? (Based on 13,249 responses)

Very likely 39.1%
Quite likely 39.9%
Not very likely 19.8%
I never ask for directions 1.8%

Fig. 5 How likely the MALE motorists surveyed indicated they were likely to stop and ask for directions if they got lost while driving. (Based on 7,668 responses)

Very likely 31.0%
Quite likely 42.0%
Not very likely 25.3%
I never ask for directions 2.3%

Fig. 6 How likely the FEMALE motorists surveyed indicated they were likely to stop and ask for directions if they got lost while driving. (Based on 5,380 responses)

Very likely 50.6%
Quite likely 36.8%
Not very likely 12.1%
I never ask for directions 1.1%