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London, Sept 18: Men behind the wheel always refuse to ask for directions when they are hopelessly lost on a country road - a scenario familiar to long-suffering wives everywhere.

But while the reluctance of male drivers to accept any outside help certainly seems like pig-headedness, it may actually stem from a less macho cause - blind panic.

While women are more than happy to use all available resources to help them reach a goal, men will rigidly stick to their original "system" - such as a map or set of directions - even though it has clearly led them astray.

Being forced to confront the fact that their system does not work, makes men flustered and usually results in them putting the pedal to the floor in a desperate bid to avoid the reality of the situation, experts have said.

Tristan Gooley, an explorer and expert in "natural navigation", said that he had noticed the difference between men and women while running courses in the use of cues like the position of the sun, moon and stars for orientation.

When shown a picture of a house with a low sun beside it, men struggled to tell whether the sun rising or setting, but women realised it must be setting because the lights in the house were on, he explained.

"I was testing the things that I taught people - the sun, the moon, the stars, the wind, the weather, plants, animals, all these sorts of things, the Telegraph quoted him as saying on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme.

"I put this test in front of groups, and men would stick within the system I had taught whereas the women would quite often say, 'never mind all that, I can tell the lights are on in the house and nobody puts all the lights on at the start of the day.'

"I think women have less comfort with and faith in a system ... men like systems so they stay within the system even if it isn't working all the way," he said.

In the context of a car journey, men may refuse to ask directions because doing so would be tantamount to admitting that their system was not working, he added.

"If you admit a system doesn't work once, the fear creeps in that it doesn't work at all and so there is a panic. Men won't admit it, but that is my theory why men don't ask for directions," he said. (ANI)

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