Hooniverse Asks: Who is a Better Driver, Your Mom or Your Dad?

The battle of the sexes has long been fought behind the wheel of the car. That includes your parents, even if just the thought of that pair and sex battles gives you the heebie-jeebies.
For at least as long as there have been automobiles, the question has come up – who is a better driver, a man or a woman? We all know that it’s both inappropriate and horribly sexist to suggest that one’s gender might influence one’s driving ability, and yet that’s just what we’re going to do, and with your mom and dad too!
It’s pretty safe to say that for the first 16 years of our lives at least, we are reliant on the driving abilities of our parents. Schlepping to school, soccer practice and the movies – taxi service is just one of the jobs that parents are required to perform. Considering all the miles your dad and mom put on their cars in service of your princely (or princessly) needs, do you think one was better than the other? We haven’t got anything better to do so let’s start a family argument; between them, who was/is a better driver, your mom or your old man?
Image: Hemmings

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  1. P161911 Avatar

    Considering that my parents met at a car accident, they are both pretty good drivers. My dad drives 30k-50k miles a year for his job and has for most of the last 40 years. I can’t remember the last time he had an accident. My mom drives to work everyday in heavy Atlanta traffic, she got rear ended by one of those “unintended acceleration” Toyotas a few years ago, but that is it.

    1. dukeisduke Avatar

      Your parents met at a car accident? I want to hear more.

      1. P161911 Avatar

        Minor fender bender in downtown Atlanta in the early 1960s. Mom was driving her dad’s prized 1957 Chevy (they were special even back then), not sure if dad was driving his Fiat 1600 Spider or was just in a friend’s car. The cop said “this would be a good time to get phone numbers”. This December will be their 50th wedding anniversary.

        1. marmer Avatar

          Wow. Assuming they were twenty when they married they are seventy now, and they still drive that much for work?

          1. P161911 Avatar

            Mom turns 68 tomorrow and dad turns 70 in October. My dad is talking about semi-retiring (he’s a sales rep on commission, so just keep a few key accounts and work 4-5 days/month) this year and my mother MIGHT retire soon. Last year where my mom works moved about another 30-45 minutes FURTHER away from her home. The house collapse hit them hard, a big chuck of their retirement was in real estate/land. My dad is out of town 1-2 nights a week, if he had to live full time with my mother, I would seriously be worried about a divorce.

          2. Alff Avatar

            This is the way the world is headed. At 72, My Dad still puts in more than 40 per week. I expect to do the same.

  2. PotbellyJoe★★★★★ Avatar

    My mom hates golf.
    My dad is a great highway driver. He holds speed well, can manage traffic and was always keen to leave an “out” for himself if there was an emergency. I know because he taught me.
    That being said, his driving skills were honed by shuttling cars for dealers in the 70s. So he is always careful with the car, and never aggressive.
    I would take him for a road trip, but i wouldn’t ask him to don a fire suit and join a racing team.
    My mom defers to him to drive for most trips. It may be the Man/wife thing. She’s not a bad driver, I just don’t think she actually wants to drive all that often.

  3. GTXcellent Avatar

    My mother’s first car was a ’67 Chevelle SS with a 327 and a Muncie 4 speed and apparently she knew EXACTLY what she was doing behind the wheel. My parents then married, and she traded the Chevelle in on a brand new Manta Rallye – with a manual, and then on a brand new Volvo 242 – with a 5 speed. Then I came along, and soon came a Pontiac Bonneville. Something happened when she moved to a “mom-mobile” because that white Pontiac was multi-colored from all of the door dings and minor fender tags. Additionally, she managed to destroy 3 or 4 work cars with bambi run ins. Now however, she’s in full on old lady form and drives quite courteously and carefully and I think is extremely safe on the road.
    My father has never been in any kind of accident or received any sort of driving infraction (at least since I’ve been alive). Now though, he has developed this terrible habit of “jerking” the steering wheel and fluctuating the accelerator. There is nothing smooth and steady about his driving to the point that I can no longer ride with him, I have to drive.

    1. Frank T. Cat Avatar
      Frank T. Cat

      My dad does the same thing! I refuse to let him drive when we’re driving together. He brakes and shifts fine, but steering and throttle on a straight road? Jerksville.

      1. marmer Avatar

        Interesting. My late father in law, who was a very experienced driver (former traveling salesman and agricultural finance officer), developed this late in life, too.

  4. Tanshanomi Avatar

    Mom, to the point that she refuses to ride with my dad. My dad hasn’t driven with my mom in the car for at least 25 years. He’s not unskilled, just too inattentive, which leads to a lot of abrupt, reactionary control movements. He is clueless that other people drive any differently than he does. That being said, they are 84 and 86, and the last at-fault accident either of them was in 1969.

  5. Frank T. Cat Avatar
    Frank T. Cat

    They’re both pretty bad, but I have no problem with driving with my mom. She just stabs the brakes whenever she sees any perceived danger, no matter what it is. I swear she’s gonna do that and get rear-ended one of these days. Always wondering why she gets crappy gas mileage and wears out her car’s brakes so fast, too.
    My dad though, oh my god, when we drive together, I always drive. The fact that he likes doing way over the speed limit (e.g., 50mph in a 30mph zone) everywhere is the tip of the iceberg.

  6. dukeisduke Avatar

    At first I was going to say, “Definitely my mom”, but I’m not sure that’s true. My dad passed away when I was eight, and all I remember was that he drove too fast for my mom’s taste (she frequently asked him to slow down), and he wolf whistled at pretty girls (especially when my mom was in the car). I don’t remember him having any accidents, though.
    As for my mom (she passed away a couple of years ago at age 93), she typically drove the speed limit, never had an at-fault accident, and none at all in the time I knew her. She usually rode the bus to work, and before that, streetcars (until streetcar service ended in Dallas, in 1956). She avoided driving on the freeway like the plague, which was probably a good thing, since her M.O. was to get on the entrance ramp, drive to the end of it and come to a dead stop, waiting for an opening.

  7. Sjalabais Avatar

    My mom was a pretty inattentive driver, with a bit of bad luck she was in a couple of accidents that weren’t even her fault, too. She liked to drive fast though, and I never forget how it took ten kilometers for our little Twingo to reach 182kph on the way home from vacation in Spain. My father was even worse, not attentive, having his eyes everywhere but on the road, stopping hard for pretty foreseeable things all the time.
    As a teenager I therefore ended up usinh this for up to 8000km/year:

  8. crank_case Avatar

    My mum has no mechanical sympathy whatsoever, but I think she’s still better than my Dad who is one of those people who doesn’t get the whole thing of it not mattering who was in the “right” when you’re dead and frequently scared the crap out of us by not yielding when some other loon was shooting through a junction when they shouldn’t or something. Amazingly despite this, he’s never been in accident in 40 years of driving, which he of course brings up any time we criticize his driving, to which my response is usually “yes, and that’s why I believe in God.”

    1. dukeisduke Avatar

      My mom used to say, “John Jones had the right of way, and his funeral is at 3:00pm”.

  9. neight428 Avatar

    My mom’s automotive body count (none totaled, a few close to it though)
    ’92 Cavalier Wagon
    ’93 Ford Probe (twice)
    ’91 Camaro Z28 (mine)
    ’02 Silverado
    She’s driving less these days, so her Civic has been spared anything apart from corner scrapes and wheel/curb abuse.
    My dad has not ben in a wreck since he was in college, I believe, unless you count his foray in to a hotshot trucking company wherein the top of the cargo box on his bobtail met with the underside of a bridge.

  10. Alff Avatar

    Depends… Do you want fun or safe?

  11. Vavon Avatar

    My dad… as my mum has no drivers licence!

  12. Kiefmo Avatar

    Well, this is a tough one.
    If you judge by accidents had, my mother is the better driver. She’s managed to never be in one. Ever. But she can’t handle a car to save her life. You see, my mother is the type of overly-cautious driver who regular drivers swerve around. In doing so, they often cause those regular drivers to hit something they might not otherwise have hit. I have no direct proof of this ever having been the case, but I don’t go anywhere with my mother unless I’m driving.
    So, if you judge by accidents caused, my father is the better driver. My dad, you see, had a 1962 Corvair with the turbo engine at 16. He survived, the car didn’t.
    But he learned. He learned something you cannot learn until you’ve lost control of a car and regained it. Later, he hooned his Mustang “Marvel” down dirt roads in central GA while at college in Macon. As we all know, on dirt one is never fully in control, always just outside of it.
    And one learns. When I was a pre-teen, my folks bought a lake boat and a salvage title (flooded up to the door sills) 1989 K5 Blazer with the 350 with which to tow it, as the D50 that would become mine was not up to the task of pulling the 20′ runabout with it’s weighty I/O mill. The Blazer was not a DD, but occasionally served as such when another vehicle was down for repair or maintenance. On these occasions, my dad would almost always find a dirt road, put the Blazer in 4high, and proceed to tear ass. I was at first scared shitless, but then I started watching his hands and feet.
    And I learned. When I got my driver’s license at 16, I was excited to get the D50 to drive. Those dirt roads were unpaved. Two of them could be driven as an alternate route to get to my high school. I oversteered. I understeered. I spun out. I slid into ditches. Then I got a FWD car.
    So I re-learned. I understeered. I over-flicked. I slid into ditches. I beat the sides of the car mercilessly with thrown gravel. Then I got a powerful RWD car.
    And I learned still more. A Volvo 960 was available with a locking rear differential and had a mighty 190hp I6 where my last RWD vehicle was openly differentialed and had a measley 88hp I4. Suddenly oversteer was easy. Too easy. The Volvo turned out to be a beast on dirt. I chewed through two sets of all seasons and a set of shocks in only two years of ownership.
    But damn did I ever learn.
    Then I got a WRX, but this is already getting overlong.

  13. Batshitbox Avatar

    Dad was terrifying to drive with. Never left the driveway with his seat belt on, always put it on while trying to drive.It was an endless series of near misses from then on. But dad was a salesman, and drove almost a thousand miles a week, yet he never hit anything. Not a shopping cart ding anywhere on his cars. If you just had faith in that fact, you could ride with him. Not the best driver, but a successful driver.
    I preferred to have mom drive, nevertheless.

  14. Citric Avatar

    My dad takes the old farmer approach – what is on the road in front of you is less important than what is happening with the crops beside you – so I’d go with my mom. But both drive like old people so they’re both pretty bad at this point.

  15. onrails Avatar

    They’re both a little OCD… Dad prides himself on efficiency – taking every turn with one slow movement of the steering wheel in and holding the perfect radius without deviating from the center of the lane throughout the whole turn, then one slow movement out. Mom is a set it and forget it on cruise control and will manage traffic and not turn it off unless absolutely necessary. Both are pretty good, but mom’s lack of wanting to speed up/down in 1 mph increments to make traffic a little less nerve wracking has made for some interesting moments.

  16. E34Less Avatar

    Definitely Mom. She’s the only one in the family with any real track experience. My dad is pretty good at towing big stuff though. Neither of them have been in an accident in the last 30 years though.

  17. Maymar Avatar

    My parents are about equally competent, my dad just drives with the flow of traffic while my mom takes speed limits pretty seriously. With my biases, I’d call my dad the better driver, but it’s a small difference.

  18. marmer Avatar

    If someone asked my daughter, she would probably say “Mom!” I’m probably a better car handler, being an enthusiast and all, but my wife is much more cautious, especially about speed and distance to other cars. So much so that there is usually a fair amount of sharp breath intake and floorboard kicking even in relatively normal city traffic when I’m driving and she’s in the passenger seat. Most of the time when we are together she prefers to drive.

  19. David Avatar

    My mother still brags that in all her years of driving she never got a ticket and was never in an accident (she voluntarily gave up driving four years ago when she turned 90). But she seldom drove more than 5 miles at a time, almost always on surface streets in our sleepy suburban hometown. She drove on the freeway maybe a half dozen times, ever. I was with her on one of those drives, and it was terrifying. The last time I rode with her, She started to brake in the middle of the block for no apparent reason. “Mom, why are you slowing down?” “There’s a traffic light up ahead!” “But it’s green!” “But it might turn yellow!” In her defense, she didn’t learn to drive until she was in her mid 30s and was pregnant with me, and driving seems to be a skill that is best learned at a young age.
    My Dad, on the other hand, was a good driver who managed a 60 mile round trip daily commute in a series of awful beaters. But he tended to get easily distracted and thus had a few crunched cars to his credit. He also had the dubious distinction of injuring all three of his children via the automobile. One time he picked up me and a friend in his 1960 Falcon. Friend was in the front seat, I was in the back. We dropped off my friend, and I was leaning on the front seat (still in the back) chatting with Dad when he stopped suddenly. This was in a car built before seatbelts, seat back latches or padded dashboards, and I landed face first into that metal dashboard. Two black eyes and a nasty lump on my forehead that lasted for weeks. My sister was with him when they got rear-ended in that same Falcon (not Dad’s fault) and has had back problems ever since. But my brother had the most spectacular accident. My Dad was a milkman for many years, delivering milk daily to the fancy homes in San Marino, CA. My brother would sometimes ride along. Those old milk delivery trucks didn’t have doors, to make it easier to hop out and take the milk to the door. Anyway, my brother was in the passenger’s side, Dad made a left turn and my brother lost his grip (again, long before seatbelts) and fell out of the truck. Worse yet, Dad RAN OVER HIS LEGS before he could stop the truck. Miraculously, no broken bones, just tire-track patterned bruises.
    So, who would I rather ride with? Well, neither. Many years ago my sister became the default driver for any family outings, and that’s been fine with all of us.

  20. David Avatar

    The cars my parents drove in my stories below: Mom’s Mercury, Dad’s Falcon, and the Evil Milk Truck (not their actual vehicles, but doppelgangers from the web).

  21. ptschett Avatar

    My dad, by far (and if you asked my parents they’d both say the same.) He raced street stocks and a winged sprint car in the ’70’s, before marrying my mom; I don’t think my mom even had a license till after they were married. If my dad has an accident it’s usually tractor/combine/sprayer vs. fence post / his own pickup that was parked too close / an adjacent farm implement / etc.; for my mom, it’s creative ways of putting an AWD CTS into a curb if not the ditch.

  22. Krautwursten Avatar

    My mom used to be a decent driver, but then her nimble little runabout got rear ended and totaled and she got a bigger car handed down by gramps which she proceeded to drive several dents into and relatively quickly got rid of when she realized that she can just take the bicycle to work and enlist dad has her saturday grocery run driver. That was eight to ten years ago, and if she keeps it up she’ll follow in my grandmother’s footsteps who hasn’t driven in about fourty years after being rear ended and apparently traumatized.
    Dad meanwhile is a great driver who to my knowledge has never gotten into an accident on his own account, in return however he does have a questionable taste in cars. Only last year I had to talk him out of getting a used PT Cruiser and then a used Chevy HHR. The purchase of one of these cars could very well have counted as an accident in itself.

  23. Andrew Avatar

    Dad’s never been in an accident, but his neck is getting kind of stiff (literally. It always was figuratively), so I’m more comfortable riding with Mom these days. She still shoulder-checks.