Women drivers

By Helen Row Toews

September 6, 2017 3:46 PM

I’ve heard the unpleasant generalizations out there touting all women as bad drivers, and I think it’s rubbish.
I suppose some credibility in that statement will be lost due to the fact I may be a tad biased, but honestly, statistics prove me right.
Admittedly, there are several differences in driving styles between the two sexes, one marked difference being that in stressful situations men tend to be more aggressive whereas women might become overly careful and wary.
At times, especially in youthful zeal, this tendency may lead men to take dangerous risks and alternatively, women might appear slow and unsure, but statistically, women get in fewer accidents and receive fewer traffic violations than men.
However, I’m sure we’ve all seen varying standards of driving displayed from both sides.
Any discussion of women drivers always makes me think of my years working for Dave Wasyliw at Bulldog Corral Cleaning.
Dave was the sort of man who didn’t suffer fools gladly.
He ran a tight ship – apart from the fact his vessels were a bunch of enormous trucks laden with manure and the waterways navigated were deep cess pools of liquid crap.
He was a hard taskmaster who kept a watchful eye on every move we made.
Employees often didn’t last too long working for Dave.
Either they didn’t like having to adhere to the standards he insisted upon and left, or he fired them for foolish mistakes which could jeopardize people or equipment.
As a woman entering this man’s world I was glad to have a boss who plainly spelled out what was expected (occasionally at the top of his lungs six inches from my nose) where I’d failed and how to correct it.
He always treated me fairly.
I was given the same opportunity to prove myself as any of the men who came before or after, and I appreciated it.
One crisp autumn day we pulled the trucks into a very neat, organized farmyard.
Everyone climbed out to stretch their legs while Dave and the farmer met to discuss what needed to be done.
From the corner of my eye I noticed the man’s eyes flick coldly towards me and then dart away.
Men were always a little surprised to see a woman hop out of the truck, particularly one who stood on the running board to freshen her lipstick in the side mirror, but they were usually good-natured about it.
Somehow though, this case seemed different and despite the farmer’s lowered tones I could hear the conversation clearly.
“I don’t want any woman drivin’ a truck in my corrals,” he stated irritably, flinging an arm wide to indicate his well-ordered yard.
“These gates are new and I’m not payin’ to have ‘em replaced when she backs into ‘em, so she can just keep the hell out.”
“Not a problem,” Dave announced loudly without batting an eye.
He whirled around and marched swiftly back to where we stood in shocked silence, “Get back in your trucks. We’re leaving,” he stated curtly.
The farmer, clearly stunned by this unforeseen turn of events, hurriedly jogged toward him in protest.
“Hey wait a minute,” he now wheedled, plastering a sickly smile on his face, “I didn’t say you ALL had to leave – just HER. I want my corrals cleaned.”
Dave leaned an elbow out the window as he gunned the motor and threw the vehicle into reverse.
He fixed the farmer with a piercing stare and addressed him in no uncertain terms, “That woman over there is part of my crew. She’s one of the best drivers I’ve had and if she goes, we all go. End of story.”
That was Dave.
I felt such gratitude mingled with pride that he had stuck up for me in this way that a tear almost escaped, but I nabbed it just in time since we truck drivers never like to display overt sentimentality.
In the end, the man capitulated, did a little grovelling, and we stayed.
Although I’m sure he didn’t like it, I worked there all that day – fences and gates safe and accounted for when we left.
Overall, I don’t believe any one group of drivers is superior to another.
It all boils down to the individual.
As is with most skills acquired in life, there are always people who will excel and people who just muddle through.
Now — if you’d like to trade stories on larger-than-life employers, I’ve got some dandies…

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