Gender and Fender Benders
We’re coming to the end of a series on whether the man or the woman is more likely to take the wheel when a couple is in the car. All the evidence indicates the man is, for lots of different reasons.
Based on the number of comments this topic has generated, it seems like you are quite interested in this question. Most of you, anyway:
Who cares. What other trivia can we waste money doing a “research” on?
Sorry, Ed, but I’d maintain that this question is far from trivial. Even besides the cultural, social, psychological and political issues involved, I’d argue that whether the man or woman is more likely to drive is literally a question of life and death.
The reason: if women are better drivers than men, we may be sacrificing human lives because men are control freaks and women like playing computer Scrabble in the passenger’s seat.
So, at the risk of filling the comments section of this post with venom and vitriol, let’s wade into the age-old question: are men or women better drivers?
- I’ve observed that very few middle-aged men use their turn signals. My opinion is that this odd oversight is part of the male driver ego’s pomposity (spawning trite phrases like “Road Hog,” “I own the road,” “My way or the highway,” “Woman Driver no Survivor,” etc.); even such a small display of power… is enough to explain the reason why men get in more accidents.
- My dad generally drives the car… But recently, my mom finally decided his aggressive driving was too frightening… Now my mom finds a way to get custody of the keys and endures his constant instruction – because it’s better than risking death.
- I? love to drive, my husband does not. I didn’t think anything of it until my children told me they don’t feel comfortable in a car driven by a man. They think of driving as something women do better.
- My husband usually drives when we’re out together because he THINKS he’s a better driver… Hmmm… I’ve never driven the car into the garage so as to rip off a car door I myself left open. I’ve not ripped bikes off the roof. I’ve never run into a truck, nor backed into an enormous recycling bin, crumpling the rear end. I signal. When I corner, things in the car don’t slide around. But when he drives… well, I’m glad that he has many other skills, like cooking.
Others, unsurprisingly, have a slightly different perspective:
- A simpler reason [that men drive more] is one that everyone knows but no one dares to admit in our politically-correct era: women tend to be lousy drivers.
- My wife…tailgates, insists on jockeying for right-of-way with much larger vehicles and generally gives me good reasons to be nervous. The few times a year that I let her drive – I always kick myself afterward.
- To be honest, her driving scares me. She likes to text message (with a touch screen phone, to make it worse) while driving, she will spend 3 minutes at a time going through her iPod music looking for just the right song… she doesn’t use cruise control so her speed varies wildly while this is happening… I simply do not feel safe with her behind the wheel.
- Men drive to protect other drivers by keeping women off the road. It’s our responsibility.
A quick glance at the names on these comments indicates an unsurprising fact: women tend to think they are better (22 of 32 who commented), and men think the opposite (14 of 18). However, there were a few traitors to their sex:
- We should be grateful that men do most of the driving. I don’t know why but women are, by and large, horrible drivers… I don’t have a single female friend that I would let drive my car. There I said it.
- As a working woman who drives to and from work every day I’m deeply grateful that the majority of women are passengers…Thank God for male drivers!
- I’ve found that in general, the stereotype that women are worse drivers is generally true. I have been scared for my life in vehicles where women were driving… I hate to bring up stereotypes because it’s obviously judgmental, but…they’re stereotypes for a reason.
- Women have fewer crashes than men, when they do crash their insurance claims are lower, and they are less likely to report risky driving behaviour than men, and [thus men] are consequently charged higher rates by car insurance companies.
- Women have been statistically proven to be much worse drivers.
Fortunately, on this issue we can move beyond the stereotypes. The hard numerical data tell an unequivocal story. Right?
–Born last century
Hmmm, I guess men and women disagree not just about who drives better, but about how to interpret statistics. So what do the numbers really say? Coming up, I’ll give you the empirical evidence. Men or women: whom do we really want behind the wheel?