Are women better drivers than men?


Are women better drivers than men?

  • By Indwe Risk Services
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As the debate continues over which sex is better behind the wheel, new findings are challenging old perceptions.

Based on exhaustive research, Tom Vanderbilt’s book Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us) explores the complex web of biological, psychological and social factors that explain why we drive the way we do. According to Vanderbilt, some research suggests that men show more technical proficiency in driving (in parking cars for example) and that men have a greater tendency to declare themselves “above average drivers”. But what do the statistics say? Are men really better at driving?


Study finds women are better drivers


A month-long study of more than 1 500 drivers by UK-based Privilege Insurance, has revealed that women are actually better at driving than men. In fact, female drivers outscored males in in-car tests when they were observed in traffic on Hyde Park Corner, one of the busiest junctions in the United Kingdom.


In the 14 aspects of driving that were assessed, women scored significantly better – 23.6 points out of a possible 30, while men only scored 19.8 points. Women seemed to be more courteous drivers with 39% always polite to other drivers, compared to just 28% of men.


The study showed that 45% of men approached hazards too fast, compared with only 25% of women, while only 44% of men stopped at amber lights compared to 85% of women. Just 1% of women, but 14% of men, cut into traffic dangerously, and just 4% of women but 27% of men drove too close to the vehicle in front of them.



Appropriate speed approaching hazards 55% 75%
Stopping safely at amber traffic lights 44% 85%
Negative impact on other drivers 73% 54%
Adequate indication 82% 96%
Adequate use of mirrors 46% 79%
Effective observation (e.g. checking blind spot) 82% 71%
Driving too close to the vehicle in front 27% 4%
Staying within the speed limit 86% 89%
Appropriate speed for the situation 64% 64%
Steering / Control of the vehicle 100% 96%
Cutting corners when turning 68% 43%
Talking or texting on the phone while driving 24% 16%
Cutting dangerously in to traffic 14% 1%
Causing an obstruction on the road 25% 16%
Total co-efficient (max 30) 19.8 23.6

Source: Privilege Insurance


Men are distracted by women while driving

According to another gender driving study, although men are more confident in their driving abilities, they are more likely to take risks when driving. They have a greater likelihood to speed, and drink and drive, and their mileage is generally higher compared to female drivers. This puts them at a 77% higher risk of dying in a car accident.


Being distracted is estimated to be responsible for an eighth of all road accidents. A survey by Australian company Allianz found that men are far more likely to be distracted. Of the 1 425 men polled, 51% said that they were easily distracted from their driving by an attractive woman, while only 15% of women felt that they were less attentive when they saw a handsome man.


Should men be paying more for vehicle insurance?

Research like this costs men more than just a little bit of ego; it also hits them directly in their wallet. It is no secret that female drivers with the same driving experience, driving the same car, will pay less for car insurance premiums.


This is a contentious issue and in 2011 a European Court of Justice ruling called the Gender Directive, declared that gender should not bring about differences in benefits and premiums. South Africa has not passed any law like the Gender Directive yet, but if such a law was put into place, it would change the car insurance landscape significantly.


To ensure that you are kept well-informed about changing laws and risk factors influencing your premiums, speak to an experienced Indwe Risk Services advisor on 0860 13 13 14. Indwe will provide you with the right advice to ensure that you are adequately covered, regardless of your gender.


Indwe is an authorised Financial Services Provider. FSP: 3425


Disclaimer: The above article is for information purposes only. The views and opinions expressed in this article belong solely to the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of Indwe Risk Services or its employees.



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