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Old 09-23-2009, 10:00 AM   #1
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Women Can't Parallel Park (and something about Ford's Active Park Assist)

Fear of parking -- yes, we're talking to you | Up to Speed | Los Angeles Times

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The latest buzz in L.A.'s car culture.

Fear of parking -- yes, we're talking to you
September 18, 2009 | 10:06 am
For those of us who dread parallel parking — I generally resort to the “touch” system, which basically involves backing up until you hit something — take comfort. We are not alone.

Parallel parking remains one of the most dreaded driving situations, with nearly one-third of U.S. drivers avoiding the procedure “as much as possible,” according to a recent online poll by Harris Interactive. Harris found that 22% of men and 35% of women avoid parallel parking “whenever possible.”

The poll was commissioned by Ford, which is flogging the “active park assist” feature offered on certain 2010 Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles. (Here’s a video of how Ford's radar-guided, automated parking system works.)

It’s no surprise that the poll found widespread parking dread — or that these findings happened to coincide with the fact that the company that commissioned the study happens to offer a product to ease that anxiety.

But there were a few gender-based findings that are worth noting.

About 43% of female drivers rated their parallel parking skills as “poor” or “fair,” compared with 21% of male drivers. On the other hand, 63% of male drivers surveyed rated women as “poor” or ”fair” parallel parkers, while only 25% of women gave men equivalent low marks.

Another intriguing statistic: 52% of U.S. drivers admitted to having parked and gotten out of the car, and then got back in to repark after realizing they had totally botched their first attempt. (That reminds me of that great scene in “Annie Hall” when Diane Keaton apologizes for her parking performance and Woody Allen replies: “That’s OK, I can walk to the curb from here.”)

And here’s a stat that may cause anxiety of a different sort for Ford, BMW, Lexus and other automakers that have rolled out park-assist features in recent years. Park-assist options ranked dead last in buyer interest among 19 automotive technologies, according to consumer surveys performed by J.D. Power & Associates. Fear of parking apparently doesn’t trump the price of these systems -- which can cost several hundred dollars. Although in fairness, it should be noted that the Harris survey did find what appears to be a higher level of buyer interest in the systems.

One last geographic nugget from the Harris survey: 35% of West Coast drivers rated themselves as lousy parallel parkers, while 74% of Northeasterners rated their parking skills as “good” or “excellent,” the highest of any region.

The only explanation I can think of for this disparity is that folks in the Northeast think “parallel parking” means knowing which side of a taxi to get out of.

-- Martin Zimmerman

Photo credit: Dan Neil / Los Angeles Times

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Old 09-23-2009, 05:47 PM   #2
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Re: Women Can't Parallel Park (and something about Ford's Active Park Assist)

i had to parallel park EVERYDAY in front of my house when i was in high school. it sucked at first (reason why i failed my drivers test the first time), but im damn good at it now.
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Old 09-23-2009, 06:40 PM   #3
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Re: Women Can't Parallel Park (and something about Ford's Active Park Assist)

i avoid it in my town when i can only because the only place u can parrallel park is on the main drag which is very narrow and u make alot of people stop and wait and they get all pissy and honk and **** anywhere else i will no problem
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Old 09-23-2009, 08:32 PM   #4
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Re: Women Can't Parallel Park (and something about Ford's Active Park Assist)

My road test had me parallel park behind a single car. Most people here can parallel park, but can't park in a parking spot to save their lives.
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Old 09-23-2009, 09:52 PM   #5
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Re: Women Can't Parallel Park (and something about Ford's Active Park Assist)

When I did my test in Alabama I didn't even have to do it!
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Old 09-24-2009, 07:23 AM   #6
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Re: Women Can't Parallel Park (and something about Ford's Active Park Assist)

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When I did my test in Alabama I didn't even have to do it!
same here, tho I have no problem with it.
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Old 09-24-2009, 10:29 AM   #7
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Re: Women Can't Parallel Park (and something about Ford's Active Park Assist)

Never had to do it for "driving test". Do it on a daily basis in everything from a Mustang to a long bed F350 with no problems.
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Old 09-24-2009, 09:31 PM   #8
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Re: Women Can't Parallel Park (and something about Ford's Active Park Assist)

I failed my driving test the first time because of it. When I had the Stang, I couldn't parallel park to save my life. With my new car, I'm a freakin champ. I can get this car into the smallest spot imaginable.
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Old 09-24-2009, 10:03 PM   #9
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Re: Women Can't Parallel Park (and something about Ford's Active Park Assist)

I didn't even know that parallel parking was a real thing until I started college in Birmingham. Now I can park like a pro!
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