There’s a safety device women need, it’s called a man seat, and it allows you you strap him in safely so he can’t start fiddling with the air conditioning or the radio while you’re trying to change gear, and there’s a handy gag so he can’t start saying: ‘oh the other lane is quicker you should change up here, it’ll be more economical; don’t you think you should have your lights on by now?
Guys: do you remember taking your driving test? How awful it was having someone watch your every move? It makes you nervous. And, if you’re stressed and trying to second-guess what someone else is thinking, then you are not concentrating fully on the road – and that will make you a worse driver.
So many women I know just let the annoying man drive, but by doing that, women can get out of practice and lose confidence.
Driving is a skill. It needs practice and concentration, and when you get it right, it so satisfying. I feel sorry for all the women I know who don’t get that fun. (And some men, my dad regards driving a painful duty.) Once you've lost confidence, it makes you think twice about going out on your own, too.
So why do so many (not all) men nag their wife or girlfriend in the car? I can’t help feeling it’s a control thing. So if they can’t control the car, they’ll change the heater setting, take your CD out and put theirs in, or suggest a route they know and you don’t – or tell you how to drive
The very worst thing you can do is have a row about it in the car. You’re in charge of a large metal object hurtling along at speed. You need to think about the road and the traffic. Just look at the case recently where the woman pulled the handbrake on while her husband was driving and killed him.
It is hard, but you need to have a serious discussion when it’s quiet. Tell him you need to be confident in the car if you are to be a safe driver. If he won’t listen I’m afraid that’s a sign of deeper control issues he may have.
One fun way to help both of you is to both take a driving experience, perhaps for someone’s birthday. Try a track day: it’s not all Top Gear, smoking doughnuts, you learn to drive smoothly, become aware of the movement of the car – and get to experience a bit of speed - in a safe environment without having to worry about traffic. Or there are off-road experiences, that’s great fun.
And driving should be fun – for everyone.