Hey lady, get off the road


Since I got my driver’s license three years ago, I’ve been told in several instances that apparently I am not a very good driver. I’ve never gotten in an accident or gotten a speeding ticket so who’s to judge, right? Well, I’ve gotten the majority of this negative feedback from men. While I’m not sure where this myth originated, it’s come to be almost common knowledge that men are better drivers than women. I’m curious to know if this myth true and what factor could decide this?

ABC News wrote an article based on the studies of two University of Michigan researcher’s who believe they found “outstanding” evidence to support this hypothesis. After studying accident reports from the past 20 years, they found that women were far more likely to crash into other women. They look at the percent chance that women should hit each other in six different scenarios and compared it to the chances of men. The studies showed that women exceeded the expected frequency of accidents by 25-50% in each scenario while men seemed to be 22% below they expected frequency. While this seems like strong evidence against us women, this could all be due to chance or the numbers could have been manipulated to creative a false positive.

Now let’s play the devil’s advocate and say that men have it all wrong and they are actually worse drivers. According to a study done by an online insurance provider called 4autoinsurancequote, almost 80% of fatal crashes are caused by male drivers. They throw out other statistics like in 2007, when men caused 6.1 million accidents compared to women’s 4.4 million and describe how men lead almost every category of traffic violations. I would like to believe this is true, for the sake of feminism, but I’m not sure how reliable this source is. I looked further into this and found an article from the NY Times, who took the same stance, saying that women are better drivers and gave the same 80% statistic. They brought up a good point though, that men drive 61% of the miles driven each year compared to women’s 39%, giving men more opportunity to get in an accident.

are-women-better-drivers-than-menStatistics are only so much without experiments to prove them. Assuming that women are inferior to men when it comes to driving, there’s the possibility that the men’s nagging could be at fault. A researcher at the University of Queensland set up an experimental driving simulation with 168 female college students to see if a negative response to their driving makes women more likely to get in an accident. In the simulation, the women were tested on their ability to stop for an unexpected pedestrian. The experiment was a double-blind placebo trial because half of the women were told previously that the study was being done to study the stereotype and the other half did not have any idea that gender was involved. The results showed that 50% of women in the “stereotype” group hit the pedestrian. This experiment was also done when women were distracted by a spelling test and produced similar results.

So have we solved the myth of men being better drivers? The problem with statistical evidence gathered from observational experiments like the first two I mentioned is that it can be easilly manipulated to fit one’s hypothesis. In addition, one experiment and a sample size of not even 200 isn’t enough to prove that men (or mental distraction of any sort) could cause women to be bad drivers. I believe that this study is something researchers should look further into because personally, I’m tired of being nagged.


  • Dye, Lee. “Are Men Better Drivers Than Women?” ABC News. ABC News Network, 15 June 2011. Web. 23 Oct. 2014. <http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/battle-sexes-men-drivers-women-dyehard-science/story?id=13841063>.
  • Hartocollis, Anemona. “For Women Who Drive, the Stereotypes Die Hard.”The New York Times. The New York Times, 17 Aug. 2010. Web. 23 Oct. 2014. <http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/18/nyregion/18drivers.html?_r=0>.
  • Molloy, Fran. “Stereotype Stuffs up Women’s Driving.” ABC Science. ABC, n.d. Web. 23 Oct. 2014. <http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2008/03/24/2197632.htm>.
  • “Women Better Drivers Than Men, Says New Study From Insurance Provider.” IReach. PR Newswire Association LLC, 16 Nov. 2012. Web. 23 Oct. 2014. <http://www.ireachcontent.com/news-releases/women-better-drivers-than-men-says-new-study-from-insurance-provider-151692045.html>.

4 thoughts on “Hey lady, get off the road

  1. Carlynne Anne Wagner

    Throughout history, women have constantly been compared to men, and most frequently seen as lesser than them. In this case, driving can be seen as a predominantly male forte. However, I’ve been a passenger in a car driven by a male that crashed due to his own faults. This particular male had a passion for cars, and jacked up his car to be impressive to all other cars on the road. Since he though he knew everything to know about cars, he figured he was superhuman on the road. This sense of cockiness caused him to not notice that he was going way too fast on a wet road. The car then skid out of control and veered off the road. Women on average are less cocky on the road than men due to our natural instincts. According to research, women have a more careful way of approaching things, which cause an overall safer environment.


  2. Taylor Michael Evcic

    I found this blog really interesting and a great topic as well! I know in my house when we go somewhere as a family, my dad always drives. Now this isn’t the same for all families but in mine, my mom always passes the driving over to my dad if hes in the car. Men can say all they want that they are better drives than women but there are a lot of other factors to consider. Let’s remember that correlation is not causation and like you said, statistics alone are not really enough to convince me one way or the other. When you think about typical “men tasks” and “woman tasks”, women are put in many more dangerous situations. Such as, picking up the kids at daycare or school, going to the grocery store, or running errands in general. These types of driving situations are in small cluttered environments, which are much more nerve-racking and accident prone that a mans typical commute to work. 14% of accidents occur in parking lots and with the amount of times women are in these situations a week, it’s only a higher chance that something could happen. So clearly neither of us really know the answer to this question but if you think about all the possible reasons it really starts to pan out in different, interesting ways.


  3. Ethan Asam

    This is a very interesting topic because like you I have also always heard that men are “better” drivers than women. But the argument is much deeper then just male and female and I think there are more 3rd party variables to bring to the table. The most important would be age because teenage boys have significantly higher car insurance because they are known as the risk takers and get in more accidents. I’m sure that statistic changes as men grow but age is definitely something to look at very closely in this classic argument.

  4. Larissa Marie Wright

    As a female driver I also frequently hear this stereotype. Most often it’s from men but occasionally I hear women agreeing themselves. A men versus women stereotype seems much more difficult to come to a factual conclusion on. I further looked into this and surveys and experiments were all over the map! Take http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/811059.PDF for example. Their percentage of crash involved drivers had men at 53.9% while women were at 45.1%. The numbers don’t seem to differentiate too much so maybe it’s abut time we call it even!

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