Jump in and take a look at some interesting data from the AAA on how gender steers our driving skills. Are women drivers really so bad, or are men worse? According to AAA, the answer is yes… and no. Here’s the scoop:
Men take more risks. In studies, men as a whole display less cautious behavior than women, such as driving at higher speeds and closer to other cars, not wearing seat belts, and driving while intoxicated more often. They even make riskier turns and take less time when parking (although they do a more accurate job, says Tom Vanderbilt, author of Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (And What It Says About Us).
BUT… how someone drives doesn’t necessarily equal how well he drives. Men do seem to be more proficient than women at certain driving tasks. However, this slight edge in ability doesn’t translate into better driving records. The kinds of accidents men get into are generally the result of their riskier behavior. According to one study, men are more than three times as likely to be ticketed for “aggressive driving” than women, and more than 25 percent as likely to be at fault in an accident.
Perception is a powerful thing. Despite the research, psychologists claim that it’s difficult to determine whether men are truly innately better drivers than women or if they’re simply more confident in their driving because they’re perceived to be better, and thus show more proficiency. Similarly, the stereotype that women are weaker drivers may negatively affect their performance behind the wheel.
Women are catching up… which isn’t necessarily good news. Men may be responsible for more accidents than women, but the gap is getting smaller. Today, more women drive (and drive more) than ever before, which has the unfortunate consequence of an increase in speeding, aggressive driving, and even fatal crashes among women.
The take home: Learn from the strengths of both sexes. Drive confidently and carefully. And don’t forget to wear your seat belt.
Sources: carandtravelmagazine.com; rd.com