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Are Men better than Women behind the wheel?

Updated: Dec 14, 2023

Even though women take longer to pass the driving test than men do, once they’re behind the wheel, they have a lower incidence of speeding tickets.

Everyone has an opinion, and it seems like the argument will never end, but new information makes it clear that the winner is not as clear as we might want.

The verdict is in, and according to the numbers, women drivers are safer on the road., a price comparison website, analysed data from insurance claims, traffic offences, and driving test scores to establish which gender is safer on the road. Similarly, Johns Hopkins University in America and Brake, the worldwide road safety organisation, also looked at country statistics across the globe. Findings were compiled from subsets of each study.

The DMV Exam

More women than men now have provisional licences in certain nations, including the United States and the United Kingdom, thanks to a surge in female applicants in recent years. Although only a few decades ago, 76% of drivers were men, as reported by the American Federal Highway Administration, women take longer to pass and are 24% more likely to fail the first time around.

Driving capacity

It’s widely believed that men log more driving hours than women. Men are more likely to rack up the miles because they are the ones who tend to do the driving on extended trips. Women spend more time behind the wheel than men do because they are more likely to be the ones to drive the kids to school, get the groceries, conduct errands, and so on. This means that in the UK, the average annual distance for male drivers is only 1 percent greater than that of their female counterparts.

Reports of auto accidents to insurance companies

Auto insurance claim history is a factor in determining your rate, and men fare worse than women in this regard. found that men accounted for over 70% of 2019’s insurance claim submissions. One explanation is that men are about ninety percent more likely to be involved in a high-velocity car crash, increasing the likelihood that they would need financial assistance to pay for repairs or a replacement vehicle.

However, females are more likely to be engaged in low-speed, low-impact collisions. These happen more frequently in congested areas, such as parking lots, when driving slowly in heavy traffic or trying to avoid hitting parked cars at school drop-off.Minor collisions, also known as “fender benders,” are rarely reported to insurers and therefore often go unrecorded.

Violating traffic laws by driving

Of the more than half a million motoring offences recorded in England in 2018, a shocking 79 percent of them were committed by men, almost four times as many as by women. In India, an average of 321 people die every day in road traffic accidents where the driver is male. In fact, men are more likely than women to commit traffic violations in almost every region of the world. Our World in Data, a think tank at Oxford University, reports that men are more likely than women to be ticketed for speeding in excess of 100 km/h, but women are more likely to receive speeding tickets in urban areas where the speed limit is enforced at a lesser rate.

Bad routines while driving

You would assume that men and women are equally prone to engage in risky driving behaviours like smoking while operating a motor vehicle or blowing through a red light. It is twice as likely that the driver will be a guy as it will be a woman if you witness them operating a vehicle without a safety belt.

Inappropriate conduct

Men are more likely to undertake, tailgate, not indicate, lane hog, fail to yield, and, most worryingly, watch movies on a mobile phone while driving, according to a study of 447 drivers conducted by researchers at the Queensland University of Technology and Queensland University. Despite the fact that women are more likely to use mobile phones than men while driving, the survey nevertheless revealed that distracted driving remains a serious problem.

A personal account

While it may appear that women are better drivers on paper, is this truly the case in the real world? After years of teaching both men and women how to drive defensively, I can say that there are clear differences in how men and women drive.

Women are notoriously cautious drivers, especially on highways, but prone to distractions at lower speeds in congested places because of their irrational fear of speeding. On the other hand, men are less likely to ruminate on “what if” scenarios. This allows them to unleash their inner alpha male, making them more prone to drive in an aggressive manner as a display of their superiority.

In the end, we could all stand to sharpen our driving skills, whether by being more careful or adhering to speed restrictions. The real question is whether or not each individual is taking adequate precautions to ensure their own and others’ safety while driving.

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