As you may have noticed from my blogs I usually go out of my way to compliment and encourage women drivers because I honestly believe that the majority of us are good and safe drivers who deserve feting not castigating!
But after reading survey after survey suggesting that women in general are less aware of car safety matters than men I am now wondering if cars driven by SOME women might be less safe than those driven by men?
Which would be seriously bad news for my gender…
In a nutshell I worry that not all women are taking motoring as seriously as they might when it comes to tyre safety and the reasons why they need to have their cars serviced annually and regularly maintained in between.
So I decided to check whether these research findings could be corroborated by FOXY Lady Approved garages based on their experience dealing with female customers. Their replies were revealing, consistent and not always complimentary about women drivers. It seems that there might be two separate groups of women drivers, based on their respective motoring attitude more than their wealth.
The first group I call ‘The Independents.’ These women own their cars, rely on them in their daily lives and often have a fair understanding of how their cars work. They are naturally confident but can be over-assertive in garages (for fear of being ripped off perhaps) and will often try to negotiate a mean deal when it comes to buying cars or expensive garage services.
These women clearly don’t need a man to tell them what to do but they might come a cropper by buying cheap garage services, not realising that the garage industry isn’t regulated and this might be a come on for unscrupulous & expensive repairs or safety corners being cut.
The second group of women has a very different and less independent motoring outlook. I am calling them ‘The Dependents’ because they expect other people, not themselves, to make sure that the car they drive is safe.
These are often wealthy females who can afford to buy a new car and then sell it just before its MOT, carrying out little or no maintenance in between. They depend on the cars being reliable because they’re new, not realising that a high percentage of ‘new’ cars fail their first safety check ie MOT because they have been neglected. Some imagine that their employer or fleet operator will ‘organise’ their garage visits for them and that this is all that is required of them. A significant group (and I often meet these at networking events) explain that ‘my husband takes care of that for me.’ A more worrying comment, made as a joke I hope, are those female that claim to ‘only put petrol in it’ thinking that sounds funny, but actually telling the truth.
In short, these are undoubtedly busy women who think that the condition of their car is someone else’s responsibility, not theirs. They may be independent shoppers in other areas, earn their own money and run a large household budget but when it comes to their cars it isn’t something that they necessarily see as ‘women’s work’.
I suspect there are a lot of these Dependent ladies out there who rely on husbands and partners and who become extremely vulnerable at times of divorce or widowhood. My ambition is to get the message across to these women that if her car causes an accident as a result of its poor condition, SHE is responsible, not her partner, employer or a bad garage. She is responsible for making sure that they have done what is necessary to keep her car safe for family, other motorists and pedestrians alike.
How would she feel if she caused a serious road accident because her car was in a dangerous condition due to her neglect?
What can I do about this?
During 2015, with motoring safety to FOXY’s fore, I plan to concentrate on the following key messages…
1/ Poorly maintained cars can kill, even those under 3 years old
2/ Cheap motoring services could mean vital safety corners being cut
3/ There’s no excuse for not knowing how to care for your car and tyres
4/ Men are often as poorly informed about car maintenance as women
5/ Divorced and widowed female ‘Dependents’ are particularly vulnerable here
Motoring advice for women
If this blog reminds you of a female who might welcome a helping hand with her motoring in future, why not buy her a Club membership for Christmas and we’ll help empower her through knowledge?
My short term ambition is to help women become better informed to do with their motoring. To understand about tyre condition, the benefits of regular car maintenance and annual servicing. To benefit from the best value deals that come FOXY tried and tested. To rely on us for insider and informed advice, putting their personal needs first. To have FOXY Lady Approved garages, repairers and car dealers they can trust…
It’s only then that female Dependents will start to understand how important it is to take their motoring safety more seriously. I imagine that many husbands would be impressed, relieved and understand why this makes safety sense. Whether they’ll want to learn ironing or cooking in return is a different matter of course!! A consequence of this empowerment is often that women enjoy their driving and motoring more, knowing that they are not only demonstrating their independence but they are also confident that their car is as safe as it can be because THEY have checked this.
We are not talking rocket science here.
PS: I have no objection to women relying on local garage professionals to do the regular car maintenance jobs in between car servicing visits, providing this gets done regularly. Just know how to check afterwards that it has been done. I say this remembering the VW dealership in East Sussex (that went out of business in the recession) servicing my company car the day before I took it on the M25 in wet and filthy road conditions. The technician had forgotten to fill my empty washer bottle. The dirty water smeared across my windscreen and I could hardly see before limping off the motorway. I lived to tell the tale of course but always check this now. It could have been a different end to this story.