When male motorists hit the road over the Easter long weekend, chances are many will be taking directions from a woman, according to a recent survey by insurer Budget Direct.
The survey found that more than three-quarters (78%) of male motorists with satellite navigation devices preferred a female voice to guide them. This was even higher than the percentage of women who preferred a female voice (65%).
The overwhelming proportion of male motorists choosing to follow a woman’s voice comes as a bit of a surprise, says Margueritte Rossi, Senior Manager Communications, Budget Direct.
“We didn’t expect there to be such strong preference for one sex over the other,” says Ms Rossi.
“You often hear complaints about women being backseat drivers, or even worse nags, yet the survey shows most men actually prefer a female voice telling them where to go.”
The reason could be that the tone of a woman’s voice has a calming effect on the driver, explains Susan De Campo, Family Counsellor, LifeCare Consultancy.
“From birth we are used to hearing soothing female tones; it’s built into our deep psyche,” says Ms De Campo.
“When you’re driving somewhere unfamiliar you appreciate all the help you can get to stay calm. That soothing tone helps us make a considered response. ”
Although the female voice was the top choice for most women motorists, more than a quarter (29%) of women stated a preference for the male voice, compared to 18% of men.
This could be because a male’s rich baritone is associated with strength and confidence, says Ms De Campo.
“When you want to find where to go you don’t want any wishy-washiness; you want someone pretty damn sure they know where they’re going.”
Comic and character voices were popular with a small percentage of drivers, with Mr Bean, Homer Simpson and Sylvester Stallone mentioned as favourites. Some motorists even gave their device a nickname such as Tommy or Tim Tam.
The survey also found that more than half (56%) of drivers had become lost at least once after following satellite navigation directions. Out of this group, females were slightly more likely (62%) to have become lost than males (52%).
The online survey of 1436 drivers aged 18 years and over was conducted in February by McCrindle Research for Auto & General Insurance. Just under half (48%) of respondents had a satellite navigation device installed in their vehicles.