Male drivers have long boasted they are superior to women, particularly when it comes to parking.
And now their claims have been borne out by the first scientific study into the subject.
Psychologists asked 65 volunteers to park a £23,000 Audi repeatedly in a sealed-off university car park.
The results, which are bound to reignite long-running arguments between couples, found that women took up to 20 seconds longer to park in the same space.
But although they were more cautious about edging into position, it did not make them any more accurate, and they tended to end up much closer to the edge of the bays than the male drivers.
Scientists from Ruhr University in Bochum, Germany, found men were better at driving both head-on into the space and reversing into it.
However, the biggest difference was in parallel parking, where men were found to be five per cent better in their handling and positioning of the vehicle.
Researchers concluded the men had better co-ordination and spatial awareness because their brains could process the changing speed and position of the car more quickly.
Dr Claudia Wolf, who co-wrote the study, said she was prompted to investigate the subject after getting fed up with chauvinistic jokes about female drivers .
She told The Mail on Sunday: ‘These prejudices exist and as a scientist I decided to find out if they are true or based on myth.
‘I don’t think that feminism or the cause of women is in any way set back by these findings. It only proves what previous studies about the spatial differences between men and women have shown.
‘Besides, it is not as if there was a massive failing by women. It is just about parking - not the triumph of men over women.’
The drivers - who had varying degrees of driving experience, but were of similar ages and intelligence - were asked to park an Audi A6 Limousine automatic, a large, family saloon, in a 15ft by 6ft space.
The scientists measured both the time between the car’s first movement and the driver turning off the engine and how close the car ended up to the white tape marking out the bays. The more central the car ended up in the space, the better.
The psychologists admitted they were surprised that females’ extra caution did not bring better results.
Their paper noted: ‘The marked difference in parking duration could be explained in terms of general driving habits. Several studies prove that men take greater driving risks.
‘However, a sex difference in riskassessment leading to women parking more cautiously, and thus more slowly, does not explain why women’s final parking position was less accurate than men’s, especially for parallel parking. Slower driving should lead to a better and not worse result.’
Last night, feminist author Germaine Greer admitted that men were better parkers than women, but criticisedthe scientists for undertaking the ‘pointless’ study.
She said: ‘I can believe that men were proven to have a very insignificant advantage in spatial awareness when it comes to parking.
'My mum parked appallingly, but that’s because my father did not let her drive very often and she was frightened in the car.
'You must remember that women also have bosoms which makes it very difficult to turn around.
‘However, did we really need to know this? Should we now stop women from parking? Of course not. These scientists were just trying to provoke people like me and it sounds like an extreme waste of resources.’
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