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Rally driver Hazel Johnson in Men v Women parking challenge
THERE are certain things in life which need challenging: People who claim EastEnders is better than Coronation Street; those who say red sauce is better than brown on a bacon butty.
But the idea that women are better parkers than men – come on!
NCP say that having studied CCTV footage of drivers getting into spaces, it’s women who score higher than men.
Men, they say, are quicker at getting into a space but when it comes to finding one in the first place and positioning the car within the white lines it’s women who are in top gear.
With 30 years’ experience of seeing women drivers strugggle to negotiate the terrors of an Asda car park I couldn’t let the matter rest.
So the battlelines were drawn. The venue on neutral territory, the empty car park of the Run Amok Play Centre in Haslingden. I was upholding the honour of male drivers everywhere.
My opponent in the great parking challenge was Hazel Johnson, 20, rally driver and autotest prodigy.
The test was a simple one, reverse into a parking space between the two white lines.
Ever the gentleman I let my young opponent go first.
Gently does it, her little Micra edged its way backwards into the designated space, with Hazel using her mirrors as she went.
The result: Driver’s side wheels 14 inches from the white line, nearside wheels 14 inches from the white line – absolutely dead centre. That was definitely not part of the plan.
Now I’m not making excuses here but I was under a lot of pressure, there was a bit of drizzle in the air and my car was much bigger than Hazel’s.
I reversed imperiously into the space, not stopping, straight in. The front of the car perfectly aligned, job done.
One minor problem was the back end had decided to take on a life of its own and perhaps there was a little encroachment onto the white line.
OK. I admit: I made a mess of it and was beaten hands down. But Hazel, from Accrington, was generous in victory although I declined her offer to teach me how to park.
Our challenge may have been a bit of fun but Hazel, an instructor for the North West under-17 car club which allows youngsters to try driving in a controlled environment had some good advice for all drivers.
She said: “Parking is a skill like all aspects of driving. There is no shame in realising that you have difficulty parking but the only thing that will make you better is practice.
“Go to a empty car park and just get used to your car. It is always better to reverse into a space, so just take your time and your confidence will grow.
"Also for drivers who aren’t that confident a good idea can be to book a lesson with an experienced driving instructor and expain which area of driving worries you, whether it be parking or going on a motorway.”
I hope she wasn’t talking about me!
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