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Are women better drivers than men? Here’s what the numbers say

Women are better drivers than men according to most safety statistics

We hear plenty of stereotypes between male and female drivers: men say women are worse and slow behind the wheel, while women say men are reckless and impatient on the road. But are women actually better drivers than men?

First, we should define what being a better driver means: Are you a better driver if you can get to your destination as fast as possible without causing an accident? Or are you the better driver if you’re the most defensive one on the road?

The primary goal for most of us when driving is to get from point A to point B safely and in a reasonable amount of time. Since we are an accident news website, we’ll shift our focus primarily to safety. 

If the numbers show that women are involved in fewer accidents per mile traveled, it would be safe to say that women are better drivers than men. 

Do men and women have different driving habits?

Our instincts might tell us that men and women behave differently on the road–with most agreeing that men might be more aggressive behind the wheel. But what do the numbers say?

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, between 2010 and 2020, there was an average of 24,987 male deaths compared to 10,225 female deaths by motor vehicle crashes. The difference in road fatalities between the sexes is significant.

The large disparity in numbers already points to women being safer drivers, but the stats also show that the gap in deaths between male and female drivers grew smaller the past few decades. There are definitely more women on the road now than there were 40 years ago.

Between 1975 and 2020, the per capita death rates for men were almost double that for women.

AAA found in a 2019 study that men were more likely to travel past posted speed limits, run red lights, drive drunk, and maneuver dangerously around other vehicles (e.g. cutting people off, tailgating, etc.). So, yes, driving habits are different between men and women.

Do men drive more miles than women?

Men do spend more time behind the wheel than women, especially since they drive most trucks, taxis, and delivery vehicles. While it’s easy to say that men are in more deadly accidents because they drive more, what happens when we adjust deadly crashes by miles traveled between men and women?

When broken down by per-miles-driven, fatal accidents for men were actually 63% higher than women. 

When adjusted for miles on the road, men are still involved in more fatal accidents than women. Coupled with the higher average miles traveled for men, road fatalities can largely be attributed to male driving behaviors. 

The role age plays in driving behaviors between men and women

Age definitely plays a role in driving behaviors between men and women. The biggest difference is between the ages of 16 – 29. After the age of 30, the difference is slightly smaller, but still skews toward men when it comes to deadly crashes.

Part of the role age plays in behavior on the road is down to experience, but also maturity. 

Between 16 – 19, the fatality rate in motor vehicle accidents is more than double for men than women, and between 20 – 29 the gap shrinks, but is still nearly twice the number for men. 

Is there a difference in insurance premiums for men compared to women?

In most states, but not all, gender is a factor in considering insurance premiums for most providers. However, the gap in price is not as big as you would think, and it also varies by age and driving behavior history.

Over their lifetime, men will pay more in insurance premiums than women, according to insurance company Value Penguin. Again, the difference isn’t much, and most noticeable when men are younger.

However, there are states that do not allow gender to be factors when considering insurance coverage, of them being our state: California.

Are women actually better drivers than men?

Yes, women are better drivers than men. When considering the rate of car accident fatalities on the road adjusted for miles traveled, women are just better. And in reality, isn’t safety all that matters?

We can argue anecdotes all day, whether women unknowingly cause accidents or put others in danger while escaping collisions themselves. But when we look at the statistics, the differences are vast–women are much safer behind the wheel than men. 

So, all things considered, women are undoubtedly better drivers than men. 

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