Dimon Kendrick-Holmes: Different behind the wheel

July 5, 2013 

Stunningly, the scientists always discover that men and women are indeed different. I could have told you that, and for a lot less money. The latest proof comes in my own household. Recently, one of my sons turned 15, passed the written test for his learner's permit and drove his mother home from the DMV office.

That night, he announced that based on the cool confidence in which he had piloted our minivan all the way from one end of the county to the other, he was already a better driver than his sister.

You may recall that I wrote about his sister two years ago after she got her learner's permit and was learning to drive. A lot of readers commented on that column and gave me advice ranging from taking Valium to donning a blindfold.

My daughter was not amused and told me I could never write about her again.

Whoops.

I'll only say that she's now an excellent driver. I think that's because she's a female driver.

I'm not kidding. Have you ever passed a female teen driver on the interstate? You can tell she's a female teen driver because of the pink monogram initials on her back window and because she's got a death grip on the steering wheel with both hands and she's burning a hole in the asphalt with her laser-like vision, all while traveling exactly the speed limit.

Have you ever passed a male teen driver on the interstate?

Of course you haven't. I started to pass a male teen driver the other day at the place where Second Avenue turns into J.R. Allen Parkway. He was driving an old Japanese pickup truck and blasting bad music, and he caught me out of the corner of his eye and shifted gears and gunned the engine.

He didn't leave me in the dust, but he had the pedal to the metal and was clearly determined to beat me to the place where the two lanes merge.

As a former teen male driver myself, I've had my share of driving success and, now mellowed by age, am content to leave the glory to the latest wave of young male drivers.

I hit the brakes and let him race off toward the bypass but then heard a whoosh and saw another teen male driver, this one in a gigantic Chevy, shoot past me. Toyota boy gunned his engine and then Chevy boy gunned his and it was over. Chevy boy took the curve at about 80 and was gone.

It's no surprise that, according to a study by AAA New York Car & Travel, men are more than three times as likely to be ticketed for "aggressive driving" and also more likely to be at fault in an accident.

Women are more likely to be involved in a car crash, but men have a much higher risk of dying in a car accident.

So I have this advice for the newest male driver in my house, and also for the two who'll follow him: Stop bragging. Oh, and drive like your sister.

Dimon Kendrick-Holmes, executive editor, dkholmes@ledger-enquirer.com.

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