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And If Women Were Actually Better At Parking Than Men?

Such are the results of a recent study in Germany, which knows a thing or two about automobiles.

Women need on average 17 seconds to park a car — Photo: Alex Eflon
Women need on average 17 seconds to park a car — Photo: Alex Eflon
Stefan Weissenborn

BERLIN — Men, get ready to take umbrage. A recent German study found that the fairer sex is better at parking cars than men are.

For the study, students stationed themselves in various parking garages and observed a total of 411 drivers as they parked their vehicles. They were comparing how slow or fast the drivers were able to park their cars in the spaces and how smoothly they did so. The results weren’t even close: women were faster and smoother than men.

Women need on average 17 seconds to park a car, whereas men take three seconds longer, the results show. Men, however, may take some small consolation from the fact that their parking maneuvers generally require fewer turns of the steering wheel.

The researchers also found something else: drivers get better with age. Study participants in the 55-65 age group took 15 seconds to park as opposed to the 22 seconds it took participants in the 18-25 age group. “That’s experience talking,” says study leader Martin Kornmeier.

Because the study partner was the parking garage company Apcoa Parking, the research only took place in such garages. Now then, men might argue that that the study was the driving equivalent of a lab test and that every scientist knows what that means — results can’t necessarily be carried over to the field, which in this case would be the street.

So would the researchers have gotten the same results if they’d been outside on the street? In a customer parking lot for sure, says Kornmeier, but on a busy street the picture might look different.

Other studies have shown, he adds, that sociological factors also play a role in parking a car. “On a street with a lot of traffic, there’s social pressure attached to parking, so under those conditions I think men might be faster. In such situations, they’re tougher. They figure that even if their parking holds up a lot of traffic, they’re going to do it anyway and deal with any fallout after they’re parked.”

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An End To Venezuela Sanctions? The Lula Factor In Biden's Democratization Gamble

The Biden administration's exploration to lift sanctions on Venezuela, hoping to gently push its regime back on the path of democracy, might have taken its cue from Brazilian President Lula's calls to stop demonizing Venezuela.

Photo of a man driving a motorbike past a wall with a mural depicting former President Hugo Chavez in Caracas, Venezuela

Driving past a Chavez mural in Caracas, Venezuela

Leopoldo Villar Borda


BOGOTÁ — Reports last month that U.S. President Joe Biden's apparent decision to unblock billions of dollars in Venezuelan assets, frozen since 2015 as part of the United States' sanctions on the Venezuelan regime, could be the first of many pieces to fall in a domino effect that could help end the decades-long Venezuelan deadlock.

It may move the next piece — the renewal of conversations in Mexico between the Venezuelan government and opposition — before pushing over other obstacles to elections due in 2024 and to Venezuela's return into the community of American states.

I don't think I'm being naïve in anticipating developments that would lead to a new narrative around Venezuela, very different to the one criticized by Brazil's president, Lula da Silva. He told a regional summit in Brasilia in June that there were prejudices about Venezuela — and I dare say he wasn't entirely wrong, based on the things I hear from a Venezuelan friend who lives in Bogotá but travels frequently home.

My friend insists his country's recent history is not quite as depicted in the foreign press. The price of basic goods found in a food market are much the same as those in Bogotá, he says.

He goes to the theater when he visits Caracas, eats in restaurants and strolls in parks and squares. There are new building works, he says. He uses the Caracas metro and insists its trains and stations are clean — showing me pictures on his cellphone to prove it.

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