A Woman’s Perspective on Driving in Pakistan

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Pakistan is a male dominant country, no matter how much we say that the Pakistani women are liberal and can take stands for themselves, the reality hits us hard when you see the problems faced by women who drive.

When you see a male driver behind the wheel, the situation is completely different; men drive like they own the road, but when it comes to a lady driving, the entire scene changes.

Having experienced these issues on the road, I know how it feels when driving in Pakistan, you take one wrong move and the entire traffic is staring and glaring at you as if you are an alien who don’t have a right to drive.

Mostly, I wonder why men behave in such a manner. I never found any proper answer, but I did find two kinds of men drivers. One who respects the fact that women can drive and it’s no big deal, every beginner makes mistakes and learns from those mistakes by experiencing it on the road. The other kind is the one who has this fixed in their minds that women can’t drive, and driving is only meant for men.

Being a woman driver myself, I know what it’s like to be on the road with several eyes on you. It’s difficult to drive on roads which belong to men, but women drivers are more careful and cautious as compared to male drivers. Most men drive rashly, while majority of women drive carefully, but they use the horn excessively, this I do accept.

In my first year of driving, I got into a very bad accident which was caused by the other person’s mistake; I still remember how scared I was not because my new car was damaged, but because the person who hit my car was on a bike with two other young boys. There was a huge crowd on the GT Road, nobody had the courtesy to help me, but all they did was enjoy the whole scene. A few generous men did come to offer their assistance, but then the Islamabad Traffic Police came and sorted out the entire matter.

The reason for telling you this is because every time you will find an accident and if there is a huge crowd, it’s either because the people are enjoying the quarrel between the two parties or it’s a woman driver who has done something wrong.

At such times when you are in a problem the people who give you stares and glares are the ones who come to offer you help, not because they want to or maybe they do, but mainly because you are a woman.

Another common issue which is faced by women drivers is when there is a huge “L” written behind their vehicles, in Pakistan “L” indicates “Learner”. So usually when men see women learner drivers on the road they try to confuse them by bringing their vehicle too near or by overtaking. If a woman takes a wrong turn, then everyone on the road starts giving those furious looks or pass comments which are not right, without even considering that if there is an “L” written behind the vehicle then it means she is a learner and there is room for mistakes.

Another huge problem which women face when driving is the dirty looks of the opposite sex, the moment they see a lady driving, male drivers try to bring their cars too close and pass indecent comments or in some cases start following. All these things just make the other person confused and can lead into serious damage like accidents.

Apart from these issues which are faced while driving, women also face problems when they have to take their cars to the workshop for maintenance. Mostly, car mechanics find women drivers inexperienced as they don’t have any knowledge about the technicalities of the car and ask them for more money even for replacing small things like brake oil or tightening some nut-bolts.

Being a woman driver myself, I feel a lot on the road needs to be changed. Women are granted with driving licenses by the Government and there is a good reason for it. According to the Traffic Police Islamabad, women are characterized as more civilized drivers as compared to men. I don’t say that all men drivers are prone to rash driving or being careless on the road or pass indecent comments, but this is the bitter reality which is faced by many women driving on the roads of Pakistan.

We say that Pakistan is an independent state where women get the liberty, but I’m sorry to say I don’t feel the liberty in this country and particularly when it comes to driving in Pakistan. It’s a male dominant field where women drivers are not treated properly. It’s high time that men should realize this that women drivers must be given the same respect which they deserve while being behind the wheel.

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  1. aaksays says

    i think she is over emphasising the issues, there are some problems women face but its exaggerated here

  2. Umair Malick says

    “the reality hits us hard when you see the problems faced by women who drive”. The problem women see in our society and culture are a lot worse then we men think. Women get hit hard by all stereotypes, and all other non sense. Even though women make up around 52% of our population, we as a society, haven’t been able to provide women a better environment.

  3. Junaid Zafar says

    Yes, i totally agree that every beginner makes mistakes and learns from experience but making mistakes on roads is just like playing with someone’s life, so i don’t feel that some beginner should be given any opportunity to make mistakes on roads. I am not against women driving but I am against the system of Pakistan. Here in Pakistan u can easily get a licence and start driving on roads. Even if, you don’t have licence, you can still drive on roads. So, in my opinion women is not the main issue, the main issue is that our system is so corrupt that almost 90% of our drivers don’t even know about traffic rules.

  4. Ahmad Saeed says

    I agree to a certain level but not every man driving on road thinks about women drivers the same way, may be you cant label all for the 5 % who does that. Specially for the indescent comment part.

  5. Madeeha Ghumman says

    Well i don’t agree entirely to this!.. Initially while learning to drive i did have some funny incidents and that i believe were more due to my mistakes and not because of my gender! but now for the longest time i haven’t had any such issue!

    But yes one does encounter some creeps every now and then who would start tailing you or overtake you in a manner to confuse you etc. And they seem to be having the time of their life then!!.the best medicine is to ignore them and within minutes they are bored and off to their business!

    As for the comments and glares..that happen not because you are a woman driver!..its because your a woman!! Dont we experience that almost all the time..whether your walking on the road, shopping, covered from head to toe, wrapped in a shawl or clad in whatever fashion! And we all know that comes from our uneducated, educated illiterates and egoistical men who unfortunately consist of a certain percentage of our population!

    But on the other hand i would also like to mention that many a times i found men helping me park my car when i would have trouble doing so and even helping me take my car out of cramped spaces or in-case of an accident!
    Workshops charging you higher rates is also more because of your lack of knowledge regarding the issue and majority of the time these sharks would pounce on that given opportunity ..regardless of your gender!
    Maybe its my good luck but so far ive also have had good respectful experiences with the traffic wardens!

    Overall i feel that it would be a generalized comment to say that women drivers are not treated properly!
    The problem is always whenever and wherever you have the unfortunate experience of bumping into
    the certain percentage of the creeps of your society!

    As long as you are a good driver and know all the rules that road belongs to you as much as it belongs to any other person in this country! 🙂

  6. aaksays says

    i agree some problems exist, my female family members drive too, i always see women drivers at roads, there are problems, but not to this extent

  7. Umair Malick says

    It also depends on which part of the country you look at, result differs. In some regions situation is a lot better, but worse in some.

  8. aaksays says

    i drive in Multan and Lahore, both places are equally tolerant to men and women, thou they are not as a whole

  9. Bilal Qureshi says

    As mentioned by a few commenters (women and men alike), some of the problems highlighted here are more related to the treatment of women, rather than of women drivers. It’s unfortunately a societal norm, but is easy to change if men (*cough* and boyzez *cough*) change how they act.
    The article was good insight though. Looking forward to more content by the writer.

  10. Terry says

    Issue has been exaggerated, however, few of the observations / concerns raised with respect to behaviour of male drivers are not false. BTW, tales of women drivers are alike / common all around the World.

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