You will be surprised at the risk women drivers face. You will also laugh
So the other day there was some alarming new information on the front page of the newspaper
Apparently a) the more hours you spend in your car the more your health suffers, and b) women are now more at risk because their increasing representation in the work force means that they too are commuting to work. The main result of their long hours in the car is, apparently, obesity, because they are more likely to eat fast food than cook a healthy meal (not surprisingly, since it is impractical to whip out a wok in a vehicle).
Now, I totally concur with point a). Spending long hours in the car (as opposed to, you know, 'short hours') does have a significant, negative impact on your health. But obesity is not the only issue to be concerned about.
Spending long hours in the car puts women at risk of:
- Snot-on-sleeve syndrome (because you can NEVER find tissues in the car when you need them);
- Light bladder leakage (if you are listening to something funny on the radio, or just have a spat of demented laughter for no reason at all);
- Heavy bladder leakage (if you drink too much coffee before leaving the house and can't find a toilet on the F3 (which you won't, because there is none);
- Extreme thirst (because you will have forgotten a bottle of water);
- Extreme hunger (because you will have forgotten a snack);
- Extreme nausea (because you will be overcome by hunger and thirst and stop at Maccas for a meal - and they are everywhere, even on the F3);
- Extreme nasal itching (because inevitably if you are in bumper to bumper traffic, and people are looking down at you in your car, your nostril will become itchy out of fear that you will have to scratch your nostril and people will think you are picking your nose);
- Extreme boredom (because driving is boring);
- Extreme road-rage (because people are idiots);
- Extreme poverty (because petrol is ferociously expensive);
- Even more extreme poverty (because you will eventually pick up a fine for speeding / driving in a bus lane / driving in a T2 lane without passengers / running a red light (EVEN THOUGH IT WAS ORANGE) / talking on your mobile while driving (BECAUSE YOUR STUPID BLUE TOOTH FAILED TO WORK THE ONE TIME THE POLICE WERE WATCHING) / just being on the roads when clearly you are not fit to have a license.
But seriously, this has nothing to do with women joining the workforce. We women have always been on the roads for (long) hours and (long) hours a day. Because we spend half our bloody lives schlepping around our children from school to sport to dance class to music class to therapy (oh hang on, that's just me?) to play dates to swimming to chess tournaments (chess is a sport, OKAY?) and back again. We are in the car ALL DAY LONG. This is NOT NEWS.
What would be news, on the other hand, is a child who sits happily in the car for long hours, without asking for a snack, needing to do a wee, or hitting his younger sister on the head. That would be worthy of a headline.
But until the laws of everything change, that, sadly, is never, ever going to happen.
Kerri is a Sydney-based writer. Her first book, When My Husband Does The Dishes... A Memoir of Marriage & Motherhood (Random House Australia, 2011) is available in all good bookstores, or online here. Her second book, The Little Book Of Anxiety - Confessions From A Worried Life (Random House, 2012) is also available everywhere, and online here. You can (and should) follow her blog here and her Twitter here
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