RIYADH - Long relegated to the back seat, Saudi women celebrated taking the wheel for the first time this week in a much-awaited rite of passage, but one crucial hurdle remains - the attitude of men.
Social media is awash with videos of women behind the wheel and men in the passenger seat, a role reversal that was unimaginable in the conservative petrostate until a royal decree last September ended a decades-long women driving ban.
A woman driver is such a novelty across the gender-segregated Muslim kingdom that when the decree took effect on Sunday (Jun 24), it prompted jubilation, disbelief, and reactions akin perhaps to those evoked by the first woman doctor in the 19th century.
"Look, a woman driver!" appeared to be a common refrain among male onlookers in Riyadh as women embraced a freedom long denied to them.
Now many are quietly bracing for a battle of the sexes on Saudi streets.
The driving reform has been widely hailed by young Saudis and no overt incidents of harassment were publicly reported in the first two days since the ban was lifted, but many are wary of pervasive sexism and aggression from male drivers despite warnings from authorities.
"I advise men to stay home to avoid being killed by women drivers!" said one Saudi Twitter user, echoing a torrent of similar comments predicting a surge of accidents because of female motorists.
Often accompanying such comments are images of fiery car crashes and traffic pileups.
And then there are the condescending mansplainers.
Some social media users have advised women to "avoid putting on makeup" while driving.