Abuses and ridicule: A constant rough rides for Women Drivers

The other day I drove to the nearest vegetable Mandi to buy the week’s stock, the exit was graveled and led straight to the main road. Before I could understand anything, the driver who was coming from the opposite direction honked midway, and obnoxiously yelled at me ” Arre, Aunty” and few more cuss words just because I didn’t let him cross first. Of course I raised my car’s windows and drove past away!!

Had I been driving wrong, absolutely not! So what was that, a menace stereotyping for women drivers? That,

  • We don’t know driving
  • We don’t follow rules
  • We drive cars to reach clubs, kitty parties with no serious business
  • We receive cars as gifts from our partners, we never earn them!
  • We know zero about car repairs
  • We can’t even park properly

Do you remember the car driving scene from the movie ‘Zindagi na Milegi Dobara’ when a highly sophisticated damsel (Kalki Koelchin) decalred to drive the car and where she got lost in singing in between with no focus on the road? We all have laughed at that scene and probably at all scenes (rather funny portrayals) of the female drivers on the screen; this is how we have always have been portrayed, soft and sophisticated and our fingers not meant to ride the Bad Boys Toys!

Tell me honestly have you ever noticed any guy speeding up his car or not giving any pass if it’s a female in the car behind him? Have you ever been glared by folks if you are behind the wheels, that’s one of the reason you prefer driving with the Googles on, right? That’s the reason you prefer not driving alone at night or wearing the LBDs or during rush hours or on the long trips, Am I right? Trust we all face this, we have faced this!

Image ref: https://www.rac.co.uk/drive/advice/driving-advice/zip-merging/

If it’s a girl in the Audi, she is a spoilt brat, if she is seen driving a Nano why can’t she rather go for a comfortable scoooty? Poor girl, that’s all she can afford; soon she will marry a guy who will buy her a good car! It’s 100% gotta be a female driver if any car overtakes you from a wrong direction’; this is dogma claimed by most of the Men even I have seen many women laughing as if it’s a aphorism. Ironically even I laughed at this once! But that’s not true, because for the centuries we have been treated like this.

‘A lot of people know that the Ford Model T was the first mass produced and affordable car in the world, but not many know that it was Karl Benz, the founder of Mercedes-Benz cars who made the first ever workable car. Named the Patent-Motorwagen Model III, the car was not a four wheeler but a three wheeler. However, the most interesting fact to learn from this story is that a woman was the first ever driver of a car.’

Sadly only 11% of those behind the wheel are women, according to the Road Transport Yearbook 2015-2016. This is year 2019 and I know that we as the ratio of Women’s driver has increased however there are countless backslashes that we to have face everyday.

I drove car to my office till the 8th month of my pregnancy, and I still remember those smirks and impatience in the spectacular’s eyes when I used to take a little more time while parking. And one day while I was on highway, one car with 4 guys they stopped my way and didn’t let me pass in; simply because I had been leading in the traffic and that incident really shook me and my tummy. And that wasn’t only experience, it was daily affair to encounter bumper to bumper car chases with drivers and male office-goers around me as if the office competition was still running amidst the traffic chaos. Often I wished to came out of the car, scream up and show my bulging tummy to that insensitive crowd but whether it could have been the solution; an end to all the abuses daily faced by women drivers.I even thought to discuss this with my hubby who surely would have persuaded me not to drive at such a crucial time but if it could have sorted the situation? One of the major reasons for this prejudice is our deep-rooted patriarchal mentality which is still intact within all of us.

Still we joke with the guys to not drive in the afternoon as that’s the time for arrogant  and inefficient Aunts to steal the roads! We still express our care and concerns by offering the female members the passenger seats. We still indicate our female partners to exchange the seats in case if we are stuck in rains, or heavy traffic or a steep descend or unknown territories. We want females to drive but at the end we want to prove that the predominant power lies within the hands of only males afterall cars are the bad boys toys, isn’t?

But breaking the barriers, today there are growing no of Women Cab services, auto-rickshaws but it takes them plethora of mental barriers to cross every day! Few months back as we were going for a trip when my friend’s 4 years old son instructed my 3 year old daughter to seat on the back seat stating that front seats are meant for boys; I was utterly shocked as that was not innocence but a complete ignorance, to raise a gender neutral boy who in the future has the capabilities to shed-off the strings of misogyny!!

Here I don’t want to debate about numbers, who leads in traffic police challans or driving test scores or car-repairs; what I want to say here is that conscious driving is essential for everyone behind the wheels. If we will continue welcoming Men to hold the steering as their birthright and Women as a granted opportunity; how far can the engine go?

Would love to hear your own experiences, take care!!

*******************************************************

Links and sources:

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/sunday-times/no-ban-but-plenty-of-bias-why-so-few-women-drive-in-india/articleshow/64809217.cms

https://www.news18.com/news/auto/auto-trivia-worlds-1st-car-driver-was-a-woman-drove-mercedes-benz-motorwagen-for-106-km-video-1854739.html

https://www.hotcars.com/10-things-that-arent-true-about-female-drivers-and-10-that-are/

https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/road-traffic-injuries

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Today I have started to live a new life. Today I aim to look beyond what's apparent and wish to explore a new world. Today I feel like to dive into an ocean of thoughts. Today I have realized that there was there was never any yesterday for me, its been always today!! My world encircles around my baby, biggy-baby (i.e my hubby) and my thoughts. Whether I'm free or occupied with stuff, I always think, dream about my thoughts, feelings and enjoy when my words gain visibility. I'm not any writer but recently I have fallen in love with writing and since then, this love is gaining momentum with every moment!! You can also read my blogs at : http://www.mycity4kids.com/parenting/droplets-of-thoughts-of-a-mum-wife-woman-and-much-more http://sweetberriesoflife.blogspot.in/

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