Newsflash: Women Aren’t Bad Drivers

If a visitor from another planet had to judge solely by the plethora of YouTube videos about “bad women drivers,” they might be perplexed that women are allowed to operate motor vehicles at all. Women have gotten a bad rap for their drivings skills since the invention of the car.

So we’d like to, ahem, point out that a study released Monday by the Transportation Department in New York City found that 80 percent of pedestrian deaths or serious injury were caused by male drivers.

In fact, as Jezebel notes, the numbers have long shown that women are better and safer drivers than men:

  1. Analyzing different violations, statistical gathering firm Quality Planning found that men break more traffic laws and are cited for more dangerous violations compared to women. Men are also the cause of more accidents and more expensive damage.
  2. More men die each year in motor vehicle crashes, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
  3. The (exceptionally credible) John Stossel said in a report for ABC News that 71 percent of all driving accidents are caused by men, and that even accounting for men driving more miles, they still caused more accidents.

Also, from the looks of a lot of the YouTube “proof” of women’s recklessness, it’s impossible to tell whether the driver is a woman or a man. But what’s obvious is that the videos of these supposed women drivers show mostly minor driving bloopers, rather than life-threatening tragedies. Looking at all the statistics, MSN reported that while women and men have similar amounts of accidents, women’s are more likely to be minor and men’s tend to be more costly.

We’re not trying to start a new stereotype that men are bad drivers. Statistics like this tend to be overlapping bell curves, and don’t predict much about individuals.

We’re just saying, lay off the YouTube videos. Like this one.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SUUH-YL_LOM

Above: A woman driving a 1907 roadster. Photo courtesy of the New York Public Library.

Comments

  1. The statistics seem to show that female drivers are generally safer (and so, in an important sense, 'better') than male drivers. I'm not sure that this defeats the stereotype, however, which often focuses around irritiating, rather than dangerous, driving. The old classic is poor parking, which isn't likely to cause accident or injury, just inconvenience. It could also be argued that while women are generally poor drivers, they also generally lack the aggressive/reckless tendencies that are the primary cause of accidents. Either way, the statistics can't be said to settle the matter.

  2. Causing accidents, death, injury and damage is quite a qualitative indicator of "bad" or "poor" driving, imho.

    • In one sense, certainly. I don't think it's in this sense that women are normally called 'bad' drivers, however.
      Keep in mind the distinction between skillful and safe driving. Racing drivers are skillful, but hardly drive safely. Equally, an unskilled driver can still drive safely if they are aware of their limitations. I believe that the prevailing stereotype isn't of women as less safe but as less skilled drivers than men, and while the statistics may show that women as a group are safer drivers than men as a group, it could still be that they are less skilled.

      I only mention this because the article seems to want to debunk a stereotype. Although I think It fails in this, some of the statistics are interesting… and the video is funny.

  3. Sasha Iskoyen says:

    Statistics are bullshit when in the real world you see the stereotype proven every day. Men are almost always more skilled because; when growing up they pay more attention to cars and get a better feel for how they work (even car video games), women are often not interested, and as a result are often horrible drivers. And all the statistics in this were manipulated to form false evidence. A lot of the time it’s the car you’re driving. A honda civic or mercedes sl – You’re more likely to crash in an sl because it encourages recklessness. With motorcycles women are 20% more likely to crash then men are.

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