Right or left side? Confusing directions is a serious problem, especially if it involves a driver. Apparently, it primarily affects women. We’ll find out if this is true
The correct distinction of directions is the basis of driving a car. Unfortunately, many students preparing for their driving test have problems with it, and what’s worse, also many experienced drivers. Popular opinion says that the right side of the left and vice versa confused especially the female sex. Is this really the case? Where do the problems with differentiating directions come from anyway? And is it really dangerous to confuse left and right while driving?
The topic is well known and has been discussed for years by many students and driving instructors. Many of them claim that women more often than men confuse the directions. According to the portal szkola-jazdy.pl something is going on and problems with the correct distinction between the right and the left side have 50 percent of the society, including 75 percent of women. Psychologists are of a different opinion and claim that this problem is not gender-specific and that it affects both men and women equally
The confusion of directions has nothing to do with intelligence or IQ. Rather, it is connected with disturbed or crossed lateralization, i.e., the lack of a clear dominance of one cerebral hemisphere over the other. This alternation of sides occurs, for example, when left-handedness is combined with right-handedness. The result is confusion of directions and general problems with orientation in space.
So why the common opinion that confusion of directions happens more often to women? Some instructors claim that women not only confuse directions, but also have worse spatial orientation and are less capable than men of handling a car. They point to general disorientation caused by a stressful situation, which is undoubtedly learning to drive, as the reason for ladies confusing directions. However, psychologists again explain that disorientation caused by stress does not depend on gender and can equally affect women and men.
Confusing the right side with the left side can have serious consequences when driving a car. It’s not just about navigating and having trouble following commands like “turn left”. All drivers know that right-hand traffic is the law in Poland. This means, among other things, that at an equal crossing we must give way to vehicles on the right. On a traffic circle, we must drive on the right. When changing lanes, we should give way to vehicles that are in the right lane. Confusing directions can have tragic consequences in such cases.
So how to properly distinguish directions? A practical way that will work in any situation – not just behind the wheel – is to realize that if you put the thumb and index finger of your left hand at a right angle, they will form an “L” shape (like “Left”) from your perspective. If we do the same with the fingers of our right hand, we will come out with an inverted “L” and therefore incorrect. An even easier way is to “mark” one of your hands with a ring or bracelet and remember which direction it represents. You can also use a watch or a ring that you usually wear on your left hand.
Looking at your hands while driving to get directions can be uncomfortable and even dangerous. How then do you properly identify right and left behind the wheel? The best “direction blinker” is the steering wheel. In countries with right-hand traffic, the steering wheel is almost always on the left side of the car. This means that the passenger seat is always on the right. So if you approach an intersection and see a vehicle approaching from the passenger’s side, you should give way to it. The same goes for changing lanes and turning according to navigation instructions.
It’s difficult for both men and women to distinguish directions. Fortunately, this difficulty, which is very important from the driver’s point of view, can be easily eliminated. At first, it will help to remember a few simple tricks to help distinguish between the right and left sides. Over time, you’ll get the hang of it.