Auto Club: Research Shows Men Ask for Directions as Often as Women

AAA study reveals the myth behind the stereotype

(LOS ANGELES, Dec. 13, 2005) — With more than 63 million people in the U.S. projected to travel by car during the upcoming Christmas–New Year’s holidays, it is reasonable to expect that more than a few of them will get lost. The Automobile Club of Southern California has good news for those wayward trekkers: new research from AAA suggests that, contrary to popular belief, men are just as likely to stop to ask for directions as women are, and there is no real difference in the genders’ likelihood to get lost when traveling together.

“The study shows that men get lost and seek help at about the same rate as women,” said Auto Club spokesperson Carol Thorp. “People may believe that men are more reluctant to ask for directions because according to a 2001 study by the Federal Highway Administration, men do the driving 78 percent of the time when couples travel together.”

In the AAA study, men who were lost stopped to ask for directions 34 percent of the time and women, 37 percent, figures that researchers say are too close to conclude that a difference exists.

Couples in the study often tried to find the correct route themselves and most were lost for less than 30 minutes before getting back on their way. Just 0.5 percent were lost for more than four hours, and another 0.7 percent never did make it to their destination.

To help the directionless find their way more easily, the Auto Club suggests travelers plan their route ahead of time using a dependable online mapping service such as AAA Directions or Internet TripTik, both available to all Southern California residents at

“It also is a good idea to have a paper map in the car as a backup,” said Thorp.

More good news from the study is that, by far, it appears that Americans are not getting lost very often. Out of more than 2,000 randomly selected U. S. adults in the study only 156 reported being lost while driving with their spouse or significant other in the past two years.

The Automobile Club of Southern California, the largest affiliate of the AAA, has been serving members since 1900. Today, the Auto Club’s members benefit by roadside assistance, insurance products and services, travel agency, financial products, automotive pricing and buying programs, automotive testing and analysis, trip planning services and highway and transportation safety programs. Information about these products and services is available on the Auto Club’s Web site at