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One in five Saudi women ‘do not think they would be a good driver’ – survey

One in five Saudi women ‘do not think they would be a good driver’ – survey

The survey also found that 78 per cent of women who intend to drive plan to buy a car

Close to a quarter (24 per cent) of women in Saudi Arabia have already applied for a driving licence since the kingdom lifted its ban on women driving in June.

Among those who have not yet applied for a licence, 61 per cent say they intend to apply for a one in the future, a survey by YouGov Omnibus has found.

For women who do not intend to apply for a driving licence, fear of driving and safety concerns are the top reasons, it found.

While 27 per cent feel it is dangerous and fear car accidents, 24 per cent do not know how to drive and 23 per cent believe their husbands/ family members would not allow them to drive.

One in five women (20 per cent) do not think they would be a good driver, 17 per cent said they already had a driver and didn’t need to drive, and 10 per cent cited potential harassment by male drivers, the survey found.

“Despite the country recently launching a campaign to educate women on driving and create awareness about safety regulations, this still remains a barrier for women trying to get behind the wheel,” the report stated.

The survey also found that 78 per cent of women who intend to drive plan to buy a car.

A majority (84 per cent) say the decision of which car to buy rests in their hands. For those who are not the primary decision maker, 48 per cent indicated their husbands will be making the decision and 25 per cent said their father-in-laws have the final say in the matter.

When women were asked which type of car they would like to drive, the largest proportion said small sized sedans (16 per cent), followed by medium sized sedans (13 per cent) and then medium SUVs (11 per cent).

In terms of car features, 63 per cent chose reverse sensing system as the top feature, followed by back camera (60 per cent) and smartphone compatibility (59 per cent).

Kerry McLaren, Head of Omnibus – MENA, said: “The lifting of the driving ban signifies independence for women and is also a great occasion for the automotive industry to further foray into Middle East’s biggest economy.

“It seems safety is a prime concern for women and they are more comfortable to start with a small car. The leading car makers thus have a great opportunity to appeal to these women with the right product offering and a carefully chalked out marketing approach.”

The lifting of the kingdom’s female driving ban is expected to provide its women workforce with new job opportunities.

Read: Saudi women expect new job opportunities after lifting of driving ban

Saudi’s Jeddah plans women valets for restaurants

However, those wishing to work as drivers will face tough restrictions on the passengers they can transport.

Read: Saudi to grant licences to family taxi cabs driven by women, but female passengers are a must

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