The notion that women are awful drivers has been in existence for a long time. Not only does the gender inequality present itself in the workplace but also on the highway. Women are perceived to be appalling drivers and if there is someone in front of you making a sudden move or changing lanes without indicator lights, you probably would think yourself that it is a woman. However, a study by an auto insurance company dispels this perception suggesting that women are better drivers than men with 27% less chances of causing an accident, fewer DUI violations and fatal crashes (Quality Planning Study).
How Women Drivers Fare
According to the AAA, women are better behind the wheel because of several factors. Men take more risks, drive at higher speeds and are more likely to tailgate compared to women. They might not wear seat belts or drive under the influence of alcohol. Men are likely to be ticketed 3 times more than women for belligerent driving. In 25% of accidents, men will be likely at fault. The New York City Pedestrian Safety Study reveals that 80% of crashes that cause injuries or deaths to pedestrians involve male drivers.
Women Drivers across the Atlantic
Across the Atlantic, the trend continues. Men make risky turns creating the potential for an accident. In a month-long study conducted in the UK, both men and women drivers were observed at a busy junction at Hyde Park and graded based on 14 different areas of driving. The results revealed that women scored higher than men 23.6/30 while men got 19.8/30. Only 4% of women tailgated while 27% of men did. Almost half of men moved too fast when approaching hazards and drove through an orange light. Fourteen percent of men cut through traffic while only 1% of women. More men than women said they did not put on their turn signals when changing direction when they thought no one was behind them (Privilege Insurance Study). One area where men were better at was in cleaning cars with 53% of respondents saying that they clean their rides twice a month according to Carfinance 247. Even though cleaning cars is important, only 1 in 10 women admitted to doing so once a year.
In France, Insee (statistics agency) said that although women earn 23.8% less than men, they do better in car insurance. Women have lower premiums than men and have been rewarded accordingly by insurers. Simply cutting premiums because of gender is illegal and sexist, but hard evidence surfaced that women are safer drivers. Les Furets, an insurance comparison website says that women drivers have fewer mishaps on the road and insurance claims and thus, have lower premiums.
But, just how risky are men as drivers compared to women? Taking a closer look at figures, men cover 16,550 miles while women drive 10,142 miles annually according to the Federal Highway Administration. This means that men drive roughly 30% more miles than women increasing their risks for accidents and injuries.
At the end of the day, does it really matter who is the better driver when all that counts is making the roads safe for everyone?
From Jenny Holt, freelance writer and mother of two. She loves nothing more than getting away from it and taking her pet Labrador Bruce for long walks, something she can do a lot more now she’s left the corporate world behind.