The big debate – which sex makes the better driver?

Blog post posted on 24/10/16 |

When I used to teach people to drive I was asked this all the time. I’d immediately ask what they meant by a better driver. This is where it became obvious that being a better driver means different things to different people.

When we think of the question what is the first thing that pops into our heads and how did we decide upon our answers? 

I think it is safe to say in general young men between the ages of 17 and 25 pose the most risk to themselves and others on the road. I ask you - is this their fault or is there something that has not yet developed, like the frontal lobe of the brain which is responsible for planning, strategising and risk taking?  Most experts will tell us this part of the brain does not fully develop until a person’s mid 20’s, which explains one reason why young people would be more vulnerable but does not tell us why young men have more crashes then young women.

There is no doubt there are some excellent female and male drivers but in the battle of the sexes who comes out top? From a small survey conducted last year it would appear women have come out on top despite only 13% of men thinking women were superior behind the wheel. They looked at behaviour as well as skill in different driving situations and unfortunately for the men they were proven to lack certain skills, take more risks and behave more aggressively in some situations.

I wonder if the way we behave when behind the wheel goes back to our genetic make-up, with women tending to have more of a flight rather than fight reaction to things, making women in general more likely to avoid confrontation and take less risk.

To me a good driver is someone who observes, anticipates and plans during their journey and drives the car in a smooth and competent way. This is irrelevant of gender.

Many surveys tend to tell us women are the safer drivers, however my brother in law has just arrived at my house moaning and groaning about a woman who had just drifted onto his side of the road while trying to use her mobile phone. I guess the debate goes on!

Rebecca Ashton, commercial learning and development manager