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Do men waste $3,000 on gas while lost?

By Claes Bell ·
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Posted: 10 am ET

Apparently the stereotypical male phobia surrounding asking for directions isn't just real, it's actually pretty expensive. The U.K.'s Telegraph has an article this week on a recent study of the cost of driving while lost, commissioned by Sheilas' Wheels, a U.K.-based auto insurance provider that caters mainly to female drivers:

In-car GPS navigation systems may reduce waste caused by lost drivers

In-car GPS navigation systems may reduce waste caused by lost drivers

… This "lost" driving time comes with a price, resulting in men wasting up to £2,000 worth of fuel over their lifetime.

Almost three-quarters of women (74 percent) said they had no qualms about asking for directions with 37 percent saying they would pull over as soon as they realized they were lost, compared to just 30 percent of men. However, 40 percent of the men said that even if they were to ask a stranger for directions, they wouldn't always trust or follow them.

Over a third of 1,000 motorists polled (34 percent) said they would rather ask a woman than a man for directions (28 percent). Two in five men (41 percent) also admitted telling passengers that they knew where they were going when in fact they were lost – compared to a quarter (26 percent) of women.

Just in case you're wondering, £2,000 is about $3,070 at today's exchange rates. I'm not sure how American males' stubbornness compares to their British counterparts, but I'd bet it's comparable. Whatever the American figure is, it will probably go down thanks to car-based GPS and Google Maps.

But I don't think technology will ever totally eliminate waste created by getting lost, as Michael Scott could probably tell you, and it would be a good idea to keep that $3,000 figure in mind the next time you're thinking about taking your sixth u-turn rather than stopping to ask directions.

What do you think? Are American men overly reluctant to ask for directions, or is that just a stereotype and/or a British thing?

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September 12, 2010 at 11:09 pm

yeah stop at gass station next time and ask directions then waistm money on a stupid g.p.s.

Debra James
September 03, 2010 at 12:40 pm

Before I got him a GPS, my husband would burn up a 1/4 tank of gas just on being lost. He never retraced his path and went back along the exact to the point where he lost his way. Instead we'd be wandering this way and that way; wasting time, money, and my patience until we'd somehow find a familiar point or get some directions.

I can't say that having the GPS is really a great thing, because now he relies upon it so much that he is not familiarizing himself with the areas to the point he wouldn't have to depend upon it so heavily; the GPS doesn't always provide the best directions. For example, we went to Costco using a different route than normal. The first thing he did was pull out the GPS, but since I was driving and knew how to get there on streets I didn't need it, and it was a more direct route than what the little box was telling us. I keep trying to tell him that he needs to learn his general surroundings, because there will be times he won't have the GPS.