Bad girls! (also published in The Oxford Mail 12.11.2010)

Jokes about women drivers are a bit unfashionable these days, along with those about the mother in law. However, despite a move towards more sophisticated comedy we are still running the risk of being included in a stand up routine.
Why? Because according to a recent survey, female drivers lag behind men when it comes to performing basic car maintenance.
Research by autoquake.com, the UK’s largest online used car retailer, has revealed that more than one in ten female drivers, or 12 per cent, never check their car’s oil level. Just under eight per cent of men confess to the same neglect. Twice as many women as men admit to never checking their tyre pressures while almost one in five say they never check the tread-depth.
Women drivers are also more likely than men to pay someone else to carry out basic maintenance for them. Just over 14 per cent of women pay to have coolant levels checked compared with five per cent of men. And nine per cent of women pay someone else to check their washer fluid level.
To be honest, I don’t really have a problem with paying someone to do these jobs for me and I fail to see why it’s such a big deal. OK we can and should ALL be ABLE to check our tyre pressures and oil levels and I am pretty sure that among my group of girlfriends we all know what a dipstick is for (not a lipstick ladies-a DIPstick) but if you can afford it and you have a busy schedule why NOT pay someone to keep your car safe? Surely it’s better than ignoring basic maintenance and risking a seized engine (NEWS FLASH…that happens when you run out of oil apparently…)
We know that pumping up our tyres or checking the oil level doesn’t require any special mechanical knowledge or muscle power, but maybe we just don’t WANT to do it ourselves. Perhaps we prefer to have a man at a garage do it for us. Just because we have the vote it doesn’t mean we HAVE to get our hands dirty and risk a broken nail-particularly if there is a spanner wielding overall-clad mechanic on hand to help a damsel in distress!
Apparently only one per cent of drivers in the South East check their tyre pressures every week although the survey didn’t make it clear if their data included naughty, neglectful boys as well as the girls.
Of course on a serious note, we are hurtling dangerously towards winter and the inevitable horrendous driving conditions that will try to ruin our lives like they did earlier this year.
You would think last winter’s blizzards, ice and potholes would have given us all a wake-up call, but no. According to Manheim Auctions, one in four of us (boys included) are failing to prepare properly for winter.
Manheim’s research reveals that a quarter of drivers do nothing to get their car ready for cold weather. Six out of ten only perform basic tasks like topping up the screen wash with anti-freeze, buying de-icer and carrying an ice-scraper.
So girls let’s not forget the essential kit for any snow stranded situations:
Lip balm to prevent chapping
Hand cream (see above)
Chocolate
Back up chocolate
Fluffy socks
A nice fleecy blanket
And a lovely (preferably good looking) man with a 4×4 to tow us out of the snowy ditch or rescue us when our engines seize because we have been bad lady drivers and not checked our oil…

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