Women forget their parking space, men forget their passengers

Embarrassing driving mistakes come in many varieties, and both genders have their favorites.

By QuinStreet May 14, 2014 11:25AM

This post comes from Des Toups at partner site Insurance.com.

Insurance.com on MSN MoneySometimes our worst fears are realized, and a new survey by Insurance.com proves it.

Dangerous Drive, driving, crash, car, auto, driver, speeding, wreck, brake, scaredWe asked 2,000 drivers (half men and half women) about their most embarrassing driving mistakes, including what they feared most, selecting from a list of 17 gaffes.

When asked what driving mistakes they fear most, 24 percent of drivers say "almost hitting a person" – and 9 percent say they’ve done this.

The other top fears are also frequent occurrences:  locking keys in the car (feared by 22 percent) and going the wrong way down a one-way street (feared by 19 percent).

More than half of drivers have forgotten where they’ve parked, making it the No. 1 driving embarrassment.

 Here are the “embarrassing” rankings, including results broken down by gender:

  1. Forgot where they parked: 52 percent (men: 44 percent; women: 59 percent)
  2. Drove over a curb in a parking lot: 43 percent (men: 35 percent; women: 51 percent)
  3. Locked keys in the car: 37 percent (men: 34 percent; women: 41 percent)
  4. Gone the wrong way down a one-way street: 34 percent (men:  30 percent; women: 38 percent)
  5. Driven away with something on the roof, such as coffee or a purse: 31 percent (men: 28 percent; women: 34 percent)
  6. Tried to open a car door and realized it wasn’t your car: 29 percent (men: 24 percent; women: 34 percent)
  7. Couldn’t back out of a parking spot because other cars or objects were too close: 27 percent (men: 21 percent; women: 33 percent)
  8. Dropped your money or food at a drive-thru window:  26 percent (men: 23 percent; women: 28 percent)
  9. Accidentally started your car’s panic alarm and couldn’t turn it off quickly: 22 percent (men: 18 percent; women: 26 percent)
  10. Lost toll ticket at the payment booth: 18 percent (men: 18 percent; women: 17 percent)
  11. Couldn’t get out of a round-about and kept driving in circles: 13 percent (men: 12 percent; women: 13 percent).
  12. Gotten pulled over and didn’t have license, registration and/or insurance: 11 percent (men: 11 percent; women: 11 percent).
  13. Driven away from a gas pump with the nozzle still in your tank:  11 percent (men: 14 percent; women: 7 percent).
  14. Not able to work key remote to get into your car: 9 percent (men: 10 percent; women: 8 percent).
  15. Almost hit a person: 9 percent (men: 8 percent; women: 9 percent).
  16. Forgot a passenger and had to go back: 8 percent (men: 11 percent; women: 6 percent).
  17. Gotten in a car and realized it wasn’t your car: 8 percent (men: 7 percent; women: 8 percent).

More than 90 percent of drivers copped to at least one embarrassing gaffe; men admitted to an average of 3.5 and women to an average of 4.2. Nearly 5 percent of drivers admitted to 10 or more.

Women admitted to far more embarrassing driving mistakes than men.

Men are more likely to misplace their toll tickets, drive away from a gas pump with the nozzle still in their tank, be unable to work their key remote, and forget a passenger and have to go back.

Embarrassing insurance claims

Forty percent of drivers who have suffered driving embarrassments say at least one of them resulted in car damage.

Here are the top gaffes and the auto insurance that will cover them:

  • Driving over curbs: Covered by collision insurance.
  • Locking keys in the car (and presumably breaking in to get them): Insurance will not pay for intentional damage, even if you’re trying to get your keys, although some policies offer roadside assistance.
  •  Driving away from gas pumps with the nozzle still in: Any damage to the car would likely be covered by collision insurance; damage to the pump or gas station would be covered by liability insurance.

Insurance.com commissioned a survey of 2,000 licensed drivers, half men and half women, in April 2014.

More from Insurance.com


May 14, 2014 2:47PM
 I suspect women are more likely to ADMIT to having made driving gaffes.
May 14, 2014 3:07PM

One time while on a long drive I left my wife at a rest area in Iowa. She had been sleeping in the back seat and my bladder was about to pop so I stopped and ran in to relieve myself, came out and drove off.


I get a call from an unknown number so I ignore it since I never answer unknown numbers. 15 min later I point out how pretty the sunrise was and notice the back seat empty. By the time I get to the next exit my mom was calling me to tell me what I had done.


I felt really bad at the time but we can all laugh about it now. I won't be allowed to forget it that's for sure.

May 14, 2014 2:07PM
How about failing to dim your lights to other drivers, my personal pet peeve.
May 14, 2014 2:38PM
Failing to dim the headlights when appropriate is a valid peeve!  The new, daylight colored headlights should be illegal...they are blinding and cause accidents...sometimes fatal accidents!...THEY HAVE TO GO!
May 14, 2014 2:22PM
Even more embarrassing when you are trying to open the wrong car and the owner is behind you watching you do it.  
May 14, 2014 4:05PM
How about driving with your turn signal on after making a turn that was not sharp enough to automatically turn blinker off, especially if you cannot hear the blinker ticking!! 
May 14, 2014 4:25PM
15yrs ago I did something so outlandish that we still talk about it today. We were at my older son's game and my little guy messed his diaper (about 2). It was about 90 degrees outside and sunny. I grabbed my diaper bag and son and was off to the car. My husband had come with the car, I arrived with a friend. I opened the trunk and quickly proceeded to change his diaper, wrap it in a plastic bag and left it in the car because there was no where adequate to dispose of it. While we were walking to the parking lot after the game I headed toward where the car was, or so I thought! My husband said no the car is over here. Oh NO!! I told him what happened and was completely horrified, imagine those poor people when they get inside that hot car with my little package in the back! We drove over there to fess up to the deed but, they were gone. I still feel guilty over it.
May 14, 2014 4:44PM
While about to give my teenage daughter a driving lesson she reached to shift into reverse to back up when I stopped her and asked if she checked her mirror, she said, " Yup...I look good". Imagine her embarrassment.........and my fear!
May 14, 2014 4:36PM
I got in my car a few weeks ago and it wouldn't start but the lights/radio all worked. Had it jumped anyway and it still wouldn't start. One of the guys helping me inspected every part of the engine and could find nothing amiss. I got super irritated and was finally ready to have it towed when one of the guys helping me came around to my side of the car, chuckled and said "Umm....your gear shift is in reverse." I put it in park and it started right up. It's official: I can no longer be offended at blonde jokes. :-) 
May 14, 2014 2:39PM
Couldn't find your car in a large parking lot and called in to report it was stolen? not me, just saying.
May 14, 2014 4:34PM
One of the worst driving errors is, parking too close to the next car and opening the door and leaving a dent in the door, of the car parked  beside. 
May 14, 2014 4:56PM
have u ever been park  all the sudden u feel like u are moving and u pressing the brake and  the other is the one moving??
May 14, 2014 4:41PM
Why isn't this piece of junk moving????  Oh - forgot about the parking brake.
May 14, 2014 2:17PM
And nobody mentioned getting caught using a cell phone while driving???  Guess that's not that embarrassing for most people.
May 14, 2014 2:22PM
I can't compare driving over a curb to tailgaiting, which is my pet peeve.  Usually these people force you over from the fast lane to block you into the center or right lane for miles.  All this while they are one their cell phones.  Nobody asked about dangerous acts here.
May 14, 2014 3:59PM

I've never seen anyone drive away with the nozzle still in thier tank. I've seen plenty of folks driving down the road with thier gas cap off or gas door open.


However, that would be funny to see!!!

May 14, 2014 4:05PM
I wouldn't exactly call not being able to back out of a parking space a driving gaffe. Sometimes a person will stop behind you and there's nothing constructive you can do about it.
May 14, 2014 4:13PM

And flying cars are coming?

Good luck!

May 14, 2014 4:10PM
Have you ever gotten into your car after shopping and sat in the passenger side and realize you are the only one who drove the car?
May 14, 2014 6:20PM
I have a cousin who has had two accidents in her driveway, drove off with the gas hose still in her car,drove thru her garage door and tried to back out and ripped the driver door off, fell asleep twice driving  and went into the median - upside down, got run over by a truck while she was jogging, left her purse at a gas station and then forgot where she left it , while driving to florida( eventually got it back), hit the rear of her husbands car in front of her at a stop sign, and she still drives at 80. I will never ride with her
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