From a man's perspective

Riding along with the "NAGIVATOR"

Riding along with the "NAGIVATOR"

October 16, 2007|By GARY WRIGHT

When asked to comment on some issue "from a man's viewpoint" I pondered "What do men do that is least understood by women?" And it came to me: DRIVING.

Clearly, personal experience was not helpful as my wife is the most understanding and least critical passenger I have ever driven anywhere (THAT is my story and I am sticking to it!!!). So I set up an intensive research project to determine why so much misunderstanding exists when men move vehicles.

The first step in any scientific research project is determining if there is a quantifiable problem. In this case the answer was a resounding "YES." Every man polled had experienced misunderstanding of his driving by women passengers.

Interestingly, research revealed that while men are often insensitive, this trait does not exist when driving! How do I know? Because all my research subjects were sensitive enough to recognize indicators used by women conveying displeasure. Not only were they aware of the indicators, but they were able to categorize them into Primary (those directly attributable to a driving activity) and Secondary (consisting of those used as a follow-up to emphasize Primary Indicators). Following is a partial list of these indicators:



Imaginary Braking: This is generally a trait of wives. A wedding band on a ring finger appears to install an imaginary brake pedal under the right foot of a wife. This brake pedal is stomped whenever a traffic light turns red, a vehicle pulls out from a side street, tailgating is perceived or the brake lights come on in any vehicle anywhere within a mile.

Gasping/sharp inhaling: Mostly noticed when a lady is sleeping in the front seat and wakes up. If there is a vehicle within 500 feet, the waking lady senses immediate danger and quickly gasps to alert the driver to the danger.

Seat sliding: Used to indicate the driver is traversing a curve too quickly. Easy to notice as it results in the user falling part-way from her seat while flailing arms helplessly - even happens when all male passengers are having no problem maintaining contact with their seats.

Mirror checking: Generally used to indicate dissatisfaction with lane changes. Often combined with or replaced by peering backward over shoulders.

White knuckling: Starts as a grip on some part of the vehicle and gradually increases until an imprint is left. Often employed during passing maneuvers, entrance ramp yields, exit ramp crossovers and anything involving a tractor-trailer.

Commenting A: Utilized when sudden danger is perceived. Research shows that this was actually beneficial once (June 17, 1967, mile marker 106 of New Jersey Turnpike). Creates a sudden increase in adrenaline as man attempts to discern the location of the danger. "Watch Out" or name spoken loudly (yelled) are the usual forms.


Silent Treatment/window inspection: Used following perceived failure to notice the primary indicator. Whenever silently staring out the passenger window exceeds 15 seconds, the driver can safely figure that he has missed the first indicator.

Commenting B: Less a warning of immediate danger and more a follow-up to another dissatisfaction indicator. Can take the form of a question such as "Was that necessary?" or "Did you see that?"

Eye Rolling: Another secondary indicator that usually follows the driver asking a question such as, "Are you OK?". Often accompanied by Commenting B.

An example described during research demonstrates how these indicators can be utilized. Following a rounding of a curve, which resulted in Seat Sliding, the driver asked "Are you OK?" and received an example of Commenting B ("Don't you think that was a little too fast?") accompanied by an Eye Roll.

As my research indicated, men are acutely aware of signals sent out by women passengers. But the failure to communicate this understanding to the signal-sender means the fault obviously lies with men.

So, in an effort to clear up this confusing situation, the men I spoke with (remembering again that this is the result of research and NOT personal experience) have provided a few suggestions.

1. Curtail Eye Rolling, Silent Treatment and Commenting B. As Secondary indicators, all are unnecessary to the process.

2. Deep-breathing exercises. My research subjects felt that anything resulting in closed eyes would be of great benefit - and since deep breathing is most effective with closed eyes they had great confidence in the technique.

3. A two-second censor. A lady feeling any indicator was necessary would count (slowly) to two, thus giving an opportunity to determine if this was one of the 99.999 percent of times it was unnecessary.

Several other suggestions were put forth - but wild horses could not make me put my name with them! However, one suggestion seemed to have some merit. Ladies finding themselves unable to refrain from "assisting" male drivers could carry the following identifying sign: NAGIVATOR

Gary Wright is owner of The Gary L. Wright Agency, which represents Allstate Insurance. He can be reached at

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