Rebecca Bernard
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Girl Scout Founder Juliette Gordon Low Was a Terrible Driver

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Juliette Gordon LowOctober 31st is Halloween, when people in the United States celebrate all things spooky with candy and costumes. Girl Scouts also remember today as the birthday of founder Juliette “Daisy” Gordon Low. Thanks to her life in the public eye, first as a socialite and then as founder of the Girl Scout movement, we know a lot about Daisy—including her abysmal driving record.

When the Savannah Morning News covered a biography of Juliette Gordon Low in 2012, author Shana Corey said that one of her favorite stories about Low was about a time she was learning to drive in Georgia and plowed her car through a neighbor’s house into the dining room. When reporting the incident to her brother,he asked her what she said to the poor residents, to which she replied with, “Why nothing, I didn’t think it would be polite to interrupt their dinner!”

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When Juliette married her husband William Low in 1886 they moved to England for a majority of the year. As automobiles became available for sale, William Low was one of the first people to buy one because they fascinated him. Living in England was another reason that Gordon Low’s driving was truly terrible. According to sources, she flagrantly refused to drive on the left in England because she was American. When she would come home to Georgia, she then refused to drive on the right side because she was British.

Before anyone laughs in our comments about Juliette Gordon Low’s driving record being reflective on her whole gender, I would like to point out that there were several female drivers in the pioneer years of the automobile. In 2015, a study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) also stated that men are more likely than women to die in motor vehicle crashes. While some of that is attributed to men being behind the wheel of cars for more time than women on average, the IIHS pointed out that men engage in riskier driving behaviors, such as driving under the influence, not wearing a seatbelt, and speeding.

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For all of her driving flaws, Juliette Gordon Low was a fantastic woman. She saw the model of Boy Scouting during her time in England and brought it back to America to found the first troop of Girl Scouts in Savannah in March of 1912. Before women could even vote in this country, Low was working hard to teach girls how to be resourceful, give back to their communities, and conquer the world as they grew up.

Happy birthday Daisy, and thank you. You are not only the first Girl Scout, but the best Girl Scout of them all.

News Sources: Savannah Morning News, Stacy A. Cordery, and the IIHS