We’ve all heard the stereotypes about female drivers: we can’t park, we drive too slowly, we get distracted, we put on make up or brush our hair while driving, we’re too cautious, we change lanes too tentatively. The stereotypical accusation list goes on and on. When I told a few men I know that I was writing about this topic, they readily recited several reasons why I’m a bad driver, citing many of the above complaints.
But are women really poor drivers? After all, being cautious isn’t such a bad thing, and men’s insurance rates must be generally higher for some reason. According to Kwik Fit Auto Insurance, the myth behind bad female drivers began in the 1940s when a mechanic was unable to diagnose a woman’s car until he saw her drive away, with her purse hanging from the choke. And it might be true that women tend to be more absent-minded drivers than men. To make matters worse, one study at the University of Giessen in Germany concluded that women generally have lower spatial skills than men. A decreased spatial reasoning capacity inhibits our ability to judge the size of a parking space and braking distance, for example.
But when it comes to statistics, women win the great driving debate. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System, 73% of car accident fatalities are men, and men on average are involved in 70% more accidents than women each year. Furthermore, one MSN auto report claims that men are up to three times more likely to engage in reckless driving, receive DUI violations, and not wear their seat belts. Men are also more likely to speed and fail to yield, and are less likely come to a complete stop at a stop sign.
Why is this? According to SGCarMart.com, men are more likely to act aggressively, take risks in the car, and get impatient with slower drivers. These tendencies can lead to unsafe driving behaviors, and, ultimately, accidents.
Looks like women win the argument this time at Safety Girl. But, next time you’re stuck in a parallel parking predicament, good luck convincing your male counterpart that we’re better drivers!