Statistically speaking, women are better drivers than men
In a variety of surveys performed globally in the last few years, the overwhelming statistical evidence points to the fact that women are better drivers than men.
In the UK, a major car rental company interviewed more than 700 people and discovered that whilst 44% of women had been involved in an accident, 57% of men could say the same thing. Amongst the older generation the figures are shockingly different: of males over 65 years of age, 60% of them had been in an accident. Just 30% of women in the same age group had been in accidents. However, in this survey, male participants consistently stated that their driving ability was higher than a woman’s- despite scoring poorly on the questionnaire and having a worse history of incidents on the road.
Whilst questionnaire evidence can be flawed, statistics coming from the American Insurance Institute of Highway Safety for the year 2012 correspond quite similarly to their findings. In cases of reckless driving, seatbelt offences and driving under the influence, the variation between men convicted of these violations and their female counterparts is more than 3 to 1. In the crashes which included fatalities, in every age category the rate for male involvement was found to be higher than that of female participation. For young drivers, between the ages of 16 and 19, the male rate of involvement in fatal crashes came to 9.2 per 100 million miles travelled. In women, this was just 3.4.
Evidence provided by agencies in Australia further confirms the suspicions. In the 12 month period ending February 2012, four times as many men as women were involved in car accidents with fatalities. Where men were drivers, passengers or even as pedestrians, as a man an individual was 1.6 – 1.7 times more likely to be killed in accidents on the road. The difference in risk between men and women is staggering. What causes it? Different schools of thought include the proposition that women are more risk-averse, whereas men are able to throw caution aside and proceed at speed into situations. Others suggest that men simply do more driving than women, and that therefore the data will always be skewed.
Information provided by insurance companies in the USA and in the UK show that approximately 68% of women have completely clean driving licences, compared to just 64% of men. So whilst the common joke may be that women are terrible drivers, perhaps it’s time to reassess that stance in light of the evidence?