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People Think Women Are Worse Drivers Than Men—Statistics Say Otherwise

In a forty-year period, twice as many men died in car crashes, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

by Mitchell Sunderland
Jan 13 2017, 11:48pm

Photo courtesy of Stocksy

From stand-up comedians to the Daily Mail, chauvinists have pushed the stereotype portraying women as shitty drivers, but as any dude who has even bought car insurance knows, men pay more for car insurance because providers prefer female drivers. Over the course of his lifetime, CBS News reports, a man could pay $15,000 more for driver's insurance than a woman.

These statistics may seem rooted in another stereotype as bad as "women suck at driving," but the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), and other organizations all have records of men causing more road accidents than women.

The IIHS, a nonprofit created by car insurance companies to decrease accidents, compiled 2015 accident date based on gender. The study found that 71 percent of car accident casualties were men, while women only made up 29 percent of deaths. The same study stated that twice as many men died in crashes between 1975 and 2015 than women. The IIHS findings are even more grim when it comes to motorcycle-related deaths, where men make up 91 percent of fatalities.

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"Men typically drive more miles than women and more often engage in risky driving practices including not using safety belts, driving while impaired by alcohol, and speeding," the study said. "Crashes involving male drivers often are more severe than those involving female drivers. However, females are more likely than males to be killed or injured in crashes of equal severity, although gender differences in fatality risk diminish with age."

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

The studies explain their findings based on the fact that men tend to engage in certain riskier behaviors, rather than any predisposed gender conditioning. The National Sleep Foundation, for instance, believes there is a 56 percent chance a man will drive while drowsy, while there's only a 45 percent chance a woman would take the same risk. They also found there's a 22 percent likelihood that men will fall asleep while driving, but there's only a 12 percent chance women would make the same error. "Sleep related crashes are most common in young people, especially men, adults with children, and shift workers," the study said.

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Men's statistical bad driving tends to stem from deciding to err on the opposite side of caution. In their analysis of people who drive while speeding, NHTSA showed that nearly twice as many men 34 years or younger die in speeding crashes than women in the same age bracket. The FBI also released numbers that showed more men drink and drive. According to Esurance, a leading insurance provider, the government agency published numbers that showed 536,202 men and 174,149 women were arrested for DUIs.

Even without a DUI, men could pay more for insurance, and companies consider gender because of the many statistics that show men drive more recklessly. Some insurance businesses, like Progressive, have given men the option to play a monitor in their car that allows the company to track their speeds. Esurance considers gender, but alongside a variety of factors that play into pricing, like driving records and credit scores.

As they say, "Your personal driving record and claims history play a much bigger role, which means a safe-driving gentleman can expect to pay less than an accident-prone gentlewoman."