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Why Do Women Usually Call Shotgun?

SS Member Image By drodriguez 01.16.10
Why Do Women Usually Call Shotgun?
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If you tend to hand over the car keys whenever you travel with your family then you are not alone.  A recent survey shows women are far more likely to sit in the passenger seat when riding with male household members.  According to sociologist, Pepper Schwartz, even the households that would label themselves as holding feminist values have men behind the wheel a lot more often than women.

A recent article from New York Times brings to light some statistics from the American Time Use Survey (ATUS) conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor regarding women and their habit of riding as passenger.  ATUS reports that women spend 29 percent of their time riding in cars as passengers whereas men spend only about half that, 14 percent.

One theory of why men may drive more is that they tend to work longer hours outside of the house than women and are alone in the car more often.  Families with higher incomes do not show as much of a gap with men driving more since each household member tends to own their own car.  But this doesn’t explain why when men and women are together, it is usually the man driving.  The 2001 National Transportation Survey reports men are three times more likely to drive than women when sharing a ride with household members. 

Do women just not want to be bothered by the stress of driving and decide to take a break when traveling with a male partner?  Or are women better navigators than men and take that role on when traveling with men?  Or is it something else entirely?

What do you think?

Do you tend to hand over the keys in your household and if so why?

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  • bobbittsara By bobbittsara

    My husband is a back seat driver so I tend to let him drive so he won't drive me nuts. Plus its easier for me to handle our children, give them snacks or settle a fight, when I'm in the passenger seat.


    My husband typically drives, unless we're going somewhere I'm more familiar with, like visiting my family. We also take turns on long trips. My husband just likes to drive, so I let him.

  • hamster_mom By hamster_mom

    I am the driver in my family. My husband had cataracts for a few years and now that he had them removed he likes for me to drive so he can take in the sites since we live in Las vegas.

  • idahospud By idahospud

    I drive 90% of the time,because my boyfriend tends to tail gate & drives more aggessively . I drive,so I can relax.

  • gardengirl10 By gardengirl10

    I do most of the driving in my family, most of the time when we go somewhere we take my car. My husband and my 23 year old son prefer me to do the driving, but it does not stop them from being backseat drivers. LOL

  • LT6609 By LT6609

    I tend to hand the keys over to my husband whenever I can. In our case, I drive to work everyday and he takes the train. After all the driving I do, I like him to take a turn. I also think that when traveling with a family, a mother may be more inclinded to entertain the kids and let the father concetrate on the driving.

  • msfriendly By msfriendly

    We share equally : )

  • Trinket By Trinket

    Usually my boyfriend drives if we go somewhere together, partially just because he likes to drive and I don't. (I usually hand over the keys no matter who I'm with, man or woman, if it's someone I trust.) It's also partially because he was in an extremely bad car wreck once - making it more comfortable for him to drive than ride. I don't think women should feel that they have to hand over the keys, but if they want to, I don't think that should be a big deal either.

  • briag79 By briag79

    In our house, if we take my car, I drive. If we take my husband's car, he drives. We also drive each other's cars(by ourselves and with each other). I don 't think he drives me around more, I think I may drive him around more. We are relatively the same height, so we don't have any adjustments to make to the seats or mirrors. I think it's just a sign of respect to let whomever's car it is drive it. I get a little annoyed with the women who have their husbands drive them around, just because he's the man.

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