RAC Cars News


Are men really better drivers?

By raccars Published

Image Source

It's a controversial subject that provokes much gnashing of teeth, and it's unlikely to ever be fully settled: are men better drivers than women?

Since 2010, there have been more female motorists than male in the US, the first time in history that this has happened, and the UK appears to be heading the same way. So rather than clashing opinions in the pub, what do the statistics actually say?

An RAC Foundation study has revealed that the number of women drivers in the UK is growing far faster than men. The number of female driving licence holders increased by 23% from 1995-2010, from 11.2 million to 13.8 million. Male licence holder numbers grew by only 9% or 1.4 million in the same time frame.

However, a report on mistakes in driving tests showed female drivers committing double the amount of reverse parking errors than men. Male driver reverse parking errors numbered 1,652 versus 3,367 by their female counterparts.

Studying the first time pass rates of driving tests taken between 2011-2013, it seems male drivers succeed in 48% of cases versus 44% of women. Furthermore, it takes women an average of eight months' training to pass their tests, while men reach the same stage within six months.

Once on the road, the figures change slightly. Male drivers are more likely to have been involved in an accident. Only 44% of women drivers have found themselves involved in a crash, compared to 57% of men. Forty six per cent of male drivers admitted to a near miss with a pedestrian or cyclist, while only 35% of women claim the same. Meanwhile, only 64% of men can boast a clean driving licence compared to 68% of women.

In the professional field, women may finally be starting to catch up with men. Danica Patrick has led the way for female drivers on the US Indycar and NASCAR circuits. In 2005, she was the fourth woman in history to compete in the Indy 500 and came in a respectable fourth, and then managed third in 2009. In the UK, Susie Wolff will complete a couple of practice sessions for Williams this F1 season, with a view to becoming a team driver in the future, while Simona de Silvestro of Indycar is now affiliated to Sauber.

Some figures to bear in mind while arguing the toss...

Looking to Buy?
Search for cars