Ask any man, and they’ll quickly tell you how men are better drivers. Stronger. More capable of avoiding accidents. Ask a women, and they’ll let you know how much better they are than men as men take stupid risks, like to show off and basically think driving is a game.
In reality, they really should be about the same. Right?
So who is better? Well, defining “better” is quite difficult, so let’s look at a number of studies completed on this all important topic.
Case study 1
One study, completed in the UK last year for an insurance company put sample groups of male and female drivers through a series of in-car tests. In another part, men and women were observed anonymously while negotiating one of the country’s busiest intersections, Hyde Park Corner.
The in-car tests were scored out of 30, and 14 different aspects of driving skill were assessed. Women scored an average of 23.6 points. Men scored 19.8. Round 1 to the ladies!
Unsurprisingly, when it came to tailgating, men were particularly hopeless; driving too close to the car in front 27% of the time, compared to just 4% of women.
When you think about accident figures we’re often quoted, in which men seem over-represented, this one factor alone could be huge, because rear-enders are far and away the most common crashes on the road, making up as much as 40% of all accidents.
What men do wrong
In the UK tests, nearly half of all men approached hazards on the road too fast, compared to only a quarter of women drivers, and more than half all male drivers accelerated through an amber light compared to 14% of females. This pretty much defines “risk-taking behaviour”.
It gets worse if you look at what they defined as “cutting into traffic dangerously”, a habit we’re all familiar with on our roads. Only 1% of women were guilty of this, compared to 14% of men.
Case Study 2
So how do we compare in Australia!? According to figures released in 2015 by Roy Morgan, a staggering 3,054,000 Australians (some 16% of the population) had been involved in a car accident while at the wheel in the previous five years.
That breaks down to 1,455,000 men (or 15% of the male population) and 1,599,000 women (16% of all women), which means female drivers are 3% more likely than the general population to be involved in a car accident. A slight win to the guys here.
Let’s look at who are the worst of the worst drivers!
Sorry guys aged 25 to 34, it’s YOU!
A whopping 34% of blokes aged 25 to 34 are more likely to have been involved in a car crash in the past five years than other Australians.
For women, it’s the slightly older driver you need to be wary of, with those aged 35 to 49 most likely to crash. That age group made up 20 per cent of all women involved in accidents, and it was 28% more likely to have an accident than the general population.
The people who really measure the relative safety of drivers are insurance companies, because they’re betting considerable money on who is more likely to have an expensive crash, and then charging those people accordingly.
And the fact is, you’re more likely to get a better deal if you’re a woman than a man (depending on your age), because you’re less likely to make a claim.
As with data on this wide-ranging topic, there are many ways to drill down on the information [ie: length of time spent driving, cost of accident repair etc]. But for now, let’s chalk this one as a win to women.
Additional information: whichcar.com.au
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