The alleged assault occurred at a shopping centre in Glanmire where locals have raised concerns about an increasing wave of public order offences.
Gardaí in Cobh said last night that the female driver did not required hospitalisation but was traumatised by the bizarre attack.
A man, in his 20s, was later arrested in the area. After questioning for several hours at Cobh Garda Station, the man was charged. Gardaí said a person was due to appear midweek before the district court in Cork.
The incident occurred around 6.45pm on Saturday as the driver, alone in the vehicle, was leaving the Crestfield Shopping Centre.
She was travelling towards the neighbouring Brook Lodge area when a young man jumped out in front of her car close to the Community College.
According to gardaí, the driver jammed on the brakes to avoid an accident.
The young man allegedly thumped the bonnet of the woman’s car and she wound down the driver’s window.
Gardaí said: “The young man just walked around towards the driver’s door and kicked the woman’s head. She was sitting in the car at the time and the kick was similar to a karate movement.”
Gardaí said the woman’s descriptions led to the arrest of a young man within 15 minutes of the attack.
The man, living in the northside of the city, reportedly resides on a temporary basis with a girlfriend in the Glanmire area.