10 Reasons Why Men Are Better Drivers Than Women
The war between the sexes has been raging since the dawn of time, and driving prowess is definitely among the most hotly contested of them all. For whatever reason, men love to claim that they are superior to women when it comes to driving.
Unfortunately for them, many reputable studies show that women have many inherent traits that make them safer and more conscientious drivers. Whoever said good road manners make excellent drivers, though? Just because women look like superior drivers on paper doesn’t mean that they actually are…right?
While many credible studies show that women don’t tend to drink and drive as often as men, or that their maternal instincts make them more careful drivers, these are certainly not the end of the story when it comes to the driving acumen of man versus woman. Like most other things, there is plenty of evidence out there that refutes the claim that women are better drivers than men. In fact, the prevailing sentiment continues to persist that men best women when it comes to matters of the road.
If men are going to boast about their driving skills to women on the open road, they might as well have some ammunition to back it up, and most of these points are backed up by reputable studies:
1: Men are involved in fewer crashes
Most people automatically assume that male drivers are more likely to be involved in accidents. After all, guys tend to be a lot more aggressive behind the wheel. There are plenty of studies that show that men are more dangerous drivers, but a study by Johns Hopkins Schools of Medicine and Public Health flies in their faces.
The study, which was conducted all the way back in 1998, examined the total number of crashes — non-fatal and fatal alike — and tallied them up by sex. The results were quite interesting, to say the least.
The study showed that men have, on average, 5.1 crashes for every one million miles that they drive. Women, on the other hand, have 5.7 crashes for the same number of miles driven. These results are even more telling when you consider the fact that men drive 74 percent more miles than women do.
MORE: 13 Reasons Why Women Are Better Drivers Than Men
The researchers involved in the study did say that younger male drivers tend to skew things considerably, too. Under age 20, male drivers are more likely to be involved in crashes. Between ages 20 and 35, women and men are equally likely to be involved in crashed. Over age 35, women are more likely to be involved in crashes.
2. Men are less distracted by cell phones
We’re all familiar with the cliché of the female tethered to the phone, providing an intricate account of the days events to anyone who will listen. This is one cliché that appears to have been substantiated. According to a recent Nielsen survey*, women talk on the phone 22 percent more than men each month; a total of 14 hours and 16 minutes — presumably many of those hours logged while navigating a multi-ton automobile through the city streets.
According to the National Highway Safety Administration, 6,000 car crashes a year involve an inattentive driver. The number one culprit is, you guessed it… cellphone usage.
3. Sleep deprivation and PMS
Most of us have likely incurred the wrath of an important female in our lives during “that time of the month”. The wrath just might be warranted though — sleep deprivation is a common symptom of PMS.
A study conducted by the Human Sleep Research Program* found that women with PMS tend to report more sleep-related complaints, including wakefulness, insomnia and fatigue. Sleep deprivation and driving is a potent mix– data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicates that over 40,000 crashes per year in the United States occur due to driver drowsiness and fatigue.
4. Both sexes agree that men are better drivers
While studies can be flawed, gut instinct is hard to argue. Plenty of polls have been conducted that gauge the road prowess of the sexes. A recent one* conducted by Harris-Decima, a Canada-based pollster, showed that 36 percent of respondents claimed that men were better drivers — compared to just 29 percent who made the same claim about women.
Interestingly enough, 48 percent of male respondents said that men were better drivers, while only 25 percent of women thought that their skills trumped those of men on the road.
Some would say sexism is to blame, and perhaps men are just over confident in their abilities*, but it looks like plenty of women will willingly agree that men are superior drivers.
5. Vast majority of winning race car drivers are men
In the world of auto racing, the vast majority of participants are guys, and in terms of winning, too. Driving techniques are a hot topic among men, who will sit and debate the merits of driving in the fast lane versus the slow lane for hours and hours; most women’s eyes will glaze over during such a conversation.
6. Car-related female fatalities on the rise
While many are ready to point to studies that show that female drivers, few people have noticed some of the key studies showing that men are indeed better drivers in some regards.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety study showed that traffic fatalities among women have increased within the last 25 years, while the number of male deaths during that same time period have decreased.
7. Men pass the driving test faster
From a very young age, most boys show a natural inclination towards using motorized vehicles. Some would say that this a classic example of “nature versus nurture” and the whole gender stereotyping thing – in other words, boys’ parents are more likely to encourage them to enjoy cars than their female counterparts. That being said, there’s no denying the fact that guys, as a general rule, have a strong natural ability and comprehension when it comes to cars.
8. Judging speed, spatial analysis and math
One of the most interesting differences appear in the way men and women estimate time, judge speed of things, carry out mental mathematical calculations, orient in space and visualize objects in three dimensions, etc.
In all these tasks, women and men are strikingly different, as they are too in the way their brains process language. This may account, scientists say, for the fact that there are many more male mathematicians, airplane pilots, bush guides, mechanical engineers, architects and race car drivers than female ones.
Not only can men play Tetris better, but they can navigate a car better through complex environments too.
9: Men are more experienced with cars
The automobile was invented by a man (Karl Benz), and for the most part, tinkered with ever since by men as well. as men seem to have an intuitive grasp of how automobiles work.
That’s not to say that women don’t play a part in modern-day automobile engineering. Men tend to start driving at a younger age, and also tend to log more miles. They tend to improve their driving knowledge as well.
10. Pets in car and obstructed mirrors
One fact seems to be irrefutably true: Women are more likely to drive around with dogs in their cars. Celebrities like Paris Hilton have made owning pint-sized accessory dogs the “in” thing to do. As a result, scads of female imitators are running around with teeny-tiny dogs of their own. Men are more likely to have their dog in the back of their pickup truck, where they won’t get in the way.
MORE: Safety Tips for Driving With Pets
Survey’s have also shown that female drivers are more likely to hang things from their rear-view mirrors. In doing so, they obstruct their view and aren’t going to be as well-equipped for dealing with on-the-road incidents. Hanging random things from a rear-view mirror is a surefire way to reduce visibility — and to increase the odds of an otherwise avoidable accident. Guys aren’t totally immune to this problem, but it’s a lot more common among women.
The Bottom Line
Will the war between the sexes — at least when it comes to driving skill — ever be won? Probably not. The preceding points, though, can be used as ammunition in any given battle. No side will ever willingly admit defeat, but anyone who says that women are infinitely superior at driving needs to be made aware of these compelling points. Anyone who denies or downplays them just doesn’t want to admit how true they really are.