Are women drivers oddities? Or so-called warrior women? Here is a list of tips for promising women drivers.
Driving a vehicle is not rocket science, if it were, there would be fewer cars on the road and we would not have the odd and even experiments. If it were there would be less chaos on the roads. Women on the roads in India are still rare though there is a growing number. I believe that it is an essential skill to learn as it leads to independence and that is exactly the type of woman who is un-sanskari because an independent woman cuts her hair, eats noodles and can drive to the post office on her own.
A woman who has learnt to drive is seen as an oddity, this became apparent to me when people around me hailed me as if I was Jhansi ki Rani and I had just won a war.
Whereas the fact was that all I had done was to buy a car and learn driving. Since I am one of the ‘warrior women’ (sarcasm alert!) out there I thought it would be a good idea to write down some of the cheat codes for women in India who are on the cusp of learning to drive.
- Confidence is key in learning to drive and this is one thing that is often systematically undermined as a woman grows older. If you find yourself lacking confidence, think of all the morons you have seen driving on the road and repeat to yourself this magic mantra, ‘if they can do it so can I’ for ten times and then go apply for a learner’s licence. You can then invest your time in learning some road rules but looking at the state of drivers around I guess most of them put that subject as optional.
- Get your hands on a vehicle to learn driving and practice driving with an L board. In my experience relying on only the driving schools instructor is not enough. The instructor’s car usually has controls on his/her side of the seat as well (much like a marriage) and your confidence usually stems from the fact that they will slam the brakes or clutch if need arises. This is alright for the initial days but for gaining confidence you need practice.
- Being a woman driving on the roads in India can be seen to some (read men) as an invitation for a race. Let them win and pray fervently that they get pulled over for speeding. I would also like to point out that you will receive quite a bit of leering or staring but the good thing is that with you behind the wheels, you can leave them behind.
- You don’t need to be car expert to drive a car and it is also not required during the driving test to know different models of cars all you need to know are the A,B,C’s (Accelerator, Brake and Clutch). If you are driving an automatic you can shorten the alphabets you will need to learn.
- There will be embarrassing moments and some distressing moments while you are learning to drive. If you find yourself in the middle of the road and your car stalls don’t panic. It has happened to every driver out there who was learning to drive. This is precisely why Rajesh Khanna crooned, ‘Kuch toh log HONK karenge, logon ka kaam hai HONK karna’.
- As you are learning there will be other drivers who will emphasize that a mark of a good driver is someone who is fast and one who cuts and weaves through traffic. This of course is total bull because unless you are in a high speed chase which has about 0.5% probability of happening, you won’t need this skill. People currently practicing this skill (*cough cab drivers) should hastily abandon it and try driving safely instead. Leave the weaving to the weavers, save handloom buy handloom.
- If you find your confidence constantly being hampered by ‘well wishers’ in your family/ friends who insist that they should drive because they are the better driver, feel free to use the sound tttbbbttpppptttthhh, (now try saying it with your tongue out) they will get the message.
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