IT IS a stereotype that has spawned countless jokes and become a truth universally acknowledged by men across the land - women are the least proficient gender when it comes to parking a car.
But a study suggests this thinking should be put into reverse, and that women are the ones who should be handed the keys in a tight spot.
The car parks operator NCP analysed the parking of 450 drivers using CCTV records and surveyed 2000 more, looking at technique, accuracy and time taken to complete the manoeuvre to create a "parking coefficient". Out of a total of 20, women received an average mark of 13.4, compared with 12.3 for men.
Women were rated higher for using an appropriate speed, having a good "pre-parking pose" to ensure a successful manoeuvre, and a higher percentage of female drivers finished centrally in their chosen parking space - 53 per cent, compared with 25 per cent of men.
Neil Beeson, a driving instructor who helped to analyse the results, said: "The views need to change. A little bit more caution is needed on the part of men, in the same way female drivers have shown."