It’s an age-old debate and one that we’re sure will rumble on long into the future, but a recent survey has concluded women are are better drivers than men. The study, performed by Carrentals UK, looked at 700 people from around the UK over the age of 18. It found 57 per cent of male respondents had been involved in an accident versus 44 per cent of female respondents.
Worse still, males have almost double the amount of driving points and speeding offences under their belt compared to the fairer sex, suggesting either men drive faster — or perhaps the ladies are more talented at weaselling their way out of fines.
Compounding the pressure on men, another study by insurance telematics solutions provider Wunelli found that, once again, women have the edge. The evidence, based on the actual driving habits of 19,000 drivers, 40 million journeys and 154 million miles of travel, found ladies are 20 per cent safer at the wheel. They exceed the speed limit less, brake less harshly and drive less often at night.
This data makes questionable the EU gender directive, which states women should pay the same insurance premiums as men. As Wunelli chairman Sandy Dunn explained: “Motor insurance rates to date have been based on estimations, trends and averages gathered and analysed over many years. When the EU Gender Directive comes into play, insurers will need to rely more heavily on the postcode of the driver and the car type being driven to determine the premium. For some women this won’t be a bad thing, but others could see their premiums rocketing.”
While there’s no doubting young women are less prone to crashing their cars than young men, and are perhaps less heavy with their right foot (there are exceptions, of course), surveys like these fail to take into account that men, on average, tend to spend longer behind the wheel (60 per cent versus 40 per cent, according to the University of Michigan) so probability inevitably plays its part.
Also, a scientific look at 6.5 million car crashes between 1998 and 2007 found a higher than expected number of accidents happening between two female drivers than between two males. Looks like this argument still has a long way to go yet before it is settled, then.