It’s outright mind-blowing: that so many women will accept a ride from a man she’s never seen before, doesn’t know from Adam — a total stranger behind the wheel.

And She’s Not Even Stranded, Lost or Injured!

This article is about why a woman would accept a ride from a male stranger even though she’s not stranded, not lost, not hurt, not in a hurry, it’s broad daylight, and the weather is perfect.

When a woman accepts a ride from a male stranger (in the absence of being stranded, injured, etc.), we cannot assume in most of these cases that she feels she can easily overpower him.

Women of average physical strength often get into the car of a stranger, completely voluntarily, even when her destination is fairly close.

It’s one thing if a woman asks a man for a ride (because she’s late for an appointment and her car’s in the shop, or she’s in high heels and her pre-scheduled ride from a friend just cancelled).

But the picture is entirely different when a man, cruising along in his vehicle in perfect weather, pulls up alongside a woman who’s not struggling to carry anything and who seems perfectly able-bodied, and offers her a ride!

What’s up his sleeve? Is it cruel for a man to drive past a young able-bodied woman he doesn’t know and not offer her a ride?

Holding a door open for a woman with packages is one thing, but offering a ride to one without packages? What compels a woman to get into an enclosed space with a male stranger?

It’s one thing if she must step into an elevator with him to get to the ninth floor. But accepting a ride is a far more elective choice!

 Why do women accept rides from men they don’t know, men they are just meeting at the moment he offers them a ride?

“I cannot say; you’d have to examine the person’s background,” says Dr. Marilyn Benoit, Chief Clinical Officer and SVP of Clinical & Professional Affairs of Devereux. Devereux is one of the largest not-for-profit behavioral healthcare organizations in the U.S., helping children and adults with emotional, developmental, educational and cognitive disabilities since 1912. She is a child/adolescent/adult psychiatrist.

Dr. Benoit told me that at around nine months, a baby begins developing a strong attachment to parents or guardians and a strong anxiety towards strangers.

I witnessed this when my parents, who had not seen their latest grandchild since he was six weeks old, saw him recently; he was nine months. He cried when either of them attempted to hold him.

But Dr. Benoit says, “A woman who had early problems with attachment, oftentimes stemming from neglect or abuse, may be non-discriminating, especially toward strangers.

“Individuals who had this poor attachment at a young age may be dangerously disinhibited.”

Other reasons, though, come to my mind as to why a woman would so willingly accept a ride from a man she’s never met.

One is the belief she’d hurt his feelings if she declined. I’ve actually heard this excuse given.

The feelings of a stranger get ranked higher than the woman’s safety.

I was once in an elevator with a male stranger. He kept commenting that I looked “sick.”

Finally he said, “Let me feel your forehead,” and his hand began reaching towards my forehead.

What the fudge, never mind his feelings! I shot out my hand and grabbed his wrist. The color in his face drained as he jumped back.

I thought I’d share that with you because it goes to this idea of hurting a stranger’s feelings.

Maybe this man meant no harm, but my safety trumps the feelings of a stranger.

Fear of hurting the driver’s feelings, really, seems like the No. 1 reason a woman would accept a ride from a stranger man despite perfect weather, a destination being close by, and the absence of injury or a heavy package. I just don’t get it.

Dr. Benoit is past president of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and has provided Congressional testimony on issues including child abuse, teen pregnancy and youth suicide.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.