I’m now officially the most annoying backseat driver ever. I was annoying before, but ever since I read Tom Vanderbilt’s Traffic (a great book) I’ve turned into a Mr. Know It All, offering pearls of wisdom on everything from how to merge (be selfish) to the ideal type of intersection (the roundabout). I’ve even started dispensing parking advice, which caused my girlfriend to kick me out of the car in the supermarket parking lot this weekend:
In the Wal-Mart parking lot, there was something else interesting about the two groups of parkers. More women opt to adopt the “cycling” strategy [this means that you drive in circles as you actively look for the best parking spot], while more men seemed to opt for the “pick a row, closest space” tactic. Veleky wondered if a “gender effect” existed in the way women and men perceived distance and travel time. So he gathered a group of subjects and had them estimate the distance to an object at varying locations, and then asked them to estimate the time it would take them to walk there. Men seemed to underestimate how long it would take to walk, while women seemed to overestimate it – which might explain the differences in parking strategies.
For what it’s worth, I’m a perfectionist parker.