Mothers Day Verdict From GEM Motoring Assist

Posted on March 19th, 2009 by GEM Motoring Assist

This Mothers Day (Sunday 22 March) offers the perfect opportunity to congratulate women on being better drivers than men, according to road safety and motoring services champion GEM Motoring Assist.

Says GEM Chief Executive David Williams: “There are a number of relevant points to consider in this age-old battle of the sexes. If you look at accident statistics, men come out worse than women. No surprise, you may say, because there are around four more million male drivers than females and the average male driver covers around 30% more driving in a year, so mile for mile, the male accident rate isn’t significantly worse.

“But three times more men are killed in road collisions than women, according to statistics from the World Health Organisation.

“Women are more likely to have low speed crashes, especially at junctions, but these seldom lead to death or injury. Male crashes, on the other hand, are more often linked to risk taking and breaking laws.”

David Williams believes the difference in the number of road deaths by gender is far too big to be explained away by the higher mileage of male drivers. “Men fare worse because they take more risks. Department for Transport figures show that in 2006, 87 per cent of those convicted of motoring offences in the UK were men. Of those convicted for dangerous driving, 96 per cent were men,” he says.

“Insurance companies appear to have made their minds up on the matter. They know that men between the age of 17 and 25 are more likely to be involved in collisions, or to receive penalties for motoring offences.

The question is why do men take more risks? Many studies have found a link between risk-taking behaviour and testosterone and men have hundreds of times more testosterone in their blood than women do. As male testosterone levels drop with age so does the gender imbalance in terms of road deaths. In the under 25 age group male road deaths are twice as common as female ones, whereas the difference is statistically insignificant in drivers aged 60 and above.

So could testosterone be the reason men take more risks or is it just in their nature? David Williams says: “Remember we have been driving for little more than 100 years and yet our behaviour is influenced by the legacy of evolution stretching back millions of years.

“For the bulk of our existence, men were hunter gatherers where risk taking, aggression, speed and spatial awareness were important attributes. Women, on the other hand, were child-rearers and developed better communication and social skills. Those age-old instincts can express themselves in driving behaviour as much as they can in other areas of life today.

So, the question about who is better at driving really has two answers. Generally speaking males are naturally better at car control but females have better self control. Statistically, this latter attribute is more effective at keeping you alive.