Women Are Bad Drivers – Fact or Fiction?

If I had a dollar for every time I heard a man say “women suck at driving” or “women can’t drive,” I’d be a rich man. To be honest, I, as a man, am also guilty of this type of stereotyping. And as I sit back and think of the comments I’ve made before in the past, I start to think – Where on earth did this stereotype come from? Is there even any basis for it? Or have us males been poking fun at females for no reason whatsoever?

Women Drivers

Men have been talking about how bad women are at driving for years. But is what they are saying even true? Or have women been getting a bad rap?

I decided to do a little research on female driving statistics to make sure my thoughts were not completely off-base. After compiling some information and getting a better idea of what I was talking about, all I can say is – “Boy was I ignorant!”

Male And Female Driving Statistics

Let’s take a look at what I found:

  • Men get in more accidents than women. According to a New York City traffic study, 80% of all auto accidents that kill or seriously injure pedestrians involve male drivers. According to a study by Quality Planning, an insurance statistics company, female drivers were also 27% less likely to be found at fault when involved in an accident. These statistics tend to hold true no matter where you look. According to the United States Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, men were involved in 6.1 million accidents (40,000 were fatal) in 2007. By comparison, women were only involved in 4.4 million (14,000 were fatal).
  • Men get more traffic violations than women. In pretty much every category of traffic violations there are, men seem to dominate women (and that isn’t a good thing). Men are more likely than women to get cited for reckless driving (3.41 to 1 ratio), driving under the influence (3.09 to 1 ratio), seat belt violations (3.08 to 1 ratio), speeding (1.75 to 1 ratio), failure to yield (1.54 to 1 ratio), and stop signal violations (1.53 to 1 ratio).
  • Men get more DUIs than women. A DUI violation is one of those few “no-no’s” for your driving record. No matter what, you should avoid getting a DUI at all costs. It’s like a permanent stain on your transcript that takes years to wash away. Nevertheless, men still outnumber women by a long shot when it comes to DUIs. In keeping tune with the 3.08 to 1 ratio mentioned above, on 2007, 626,371 DUIs were issued to men in the United States. Women drivers were only issued 162,493.

Women Are Safer Drivers, So What?

The statistics are pretty clear and straight forward – women are safer drivers than men. But why is this? Experts say that men are more aggressive behind the wheel. They are more likely to take risks, and therefore, more likely to make mistakes. Many believe this is because of higher testosterone levels. This higher likelihood to take risks, fueled by testosterone, also might be the reason why men are statistically more likely to drive under the influence, not wear a seat-belt, and speed.

You best believe the insurance companies have taken notice of these statistics. Because of this, insurance prices tend to be cheaper for women than they are for men. Think of it almost like an award to women for being safer drivers. You drive safe, you get cheaper insurance. It’s as simple as that.

But how much cheaper is insurance for women? According to insweb.com, the average cost for a six month policy in the United States is $698 for women and $765 for men. In some states, the price difference between men and women is well over $100!

Take a look at the average prices state-by-state:

State Median Rate: Women Median Rate: Men % Difference Ranking
Wyoming $495 $621 20.3% 1
Washington D.C. $791 $942 16.0% 2
South Dakota $578 $687 15.9% 3
Arkansas $585 $680 14.0% 4
Idaho $458 $532 14.0% 5
Alaska $775 $896 13.5% 6
Mississippi $775 $869 13.2% 7
Louisiana $1164 $1314 11.4% 8
Minnesota $532 $594 10.4% 9
California $816 $910 10.3% 10
Maine $472 $526 10.2% 11
Nebraska $527 $587 10.2% 12
Georgia $778 $862 9.7% 13
Tennessee $565 $625 9.6% 14
Washington $596 $659 9.6% 15
Texas $722 $799 9.6% 16
New York $1013 $1119 9.5% 17
South Carolina $583 $644 9.4% 18
Florida $798 $879 9.2% 19
Alabama $646 $711 9.2% 20
New Hampshire $561 $617 9.1% 21
Delaware $736 $807 8.8% 22
Ohio $537 $587 8.5% 23
Illinois $674 $737 8.5% 24
Arizona $861 $937 8.1% 25
North Carolina $477 $519 8.1% 26
Oregon $563 $612 8.0% 27
Kansas $608 $661 8.0% 28
Kentucky $725 $787 7.8% 29
Virginia $557 $604 7.8% 30
Colorado $770 $832 7.5% 31
Vermont $501 $541 7.4% 32
Missouri $705 $759 7.2% 33
New Mexico $735 $790 7.1% 34
Connecticut $862 $927 7.0% 35
Rhode Island $866 $931 7.0% 36
Utah $550 $591 6.9% 37
Pennsylvania $574 $615 6.7% 38
Wisconsin $551 $590 6.7% 39
Indiana $560 $595 5.9% 40
West Virginia $676 $716 5.7% 41
Oklahoma $801 $842 4.9% 42
Maryland $854 $897 4.7% 43
North Dakota $525 $550 4.5% 44
New Jersey $699 $732 4.9% 45
Massachusetts $498 $519 4.1% 46
Nevada $886 $912 2.9% 47
Michigan $720 $741 2.8% 48
Hawaii $599 $607 1.3% 49
Montana $690 $698 1.1% 50
Iowa $544 $533 -1.9% 51

Sigh… One of the tough things about being a man is swallowing your pride and admitting when you are wrong. Looks like my days of insulting women drivers are over. Insurance and traffic related statistics from all over the country have proved me wrong and have proven one thing right – Women are better drivers than men!

Feedback

  Comments: 24


  1. Do men drive more hours or miles than women?

    If so, most of your analysis needs revisited.

    Simply saying men are in more accidents doesn’t matter if men drive twice as much, for instance.


    • Yes they need to state accident rate per mile or per hour of driving. I am sure it is not the universal case, but in my family the husband or boyfriend drives the car while the wife or girlfriend sits in the cushy passenger seat. So lets say an accident is unavoidable (deer in road) the husband will get the blame and the wife will look like an accident free driver.


  2. I agree with Steve, let’s see an actual breakdown of accidents per miles driven and a ratio of men to women on the road at any given time. Also it’s probably not tracked, but if there’s a way to gauge tickets versus warning and adjusted to balance out the ratio of men to women drivers and miles driven.

    You can’t make this type of statement if your numbers aren’t balanced out to a 1 to1 ratio.

    I understand that for the sake of insurance rates these ratios mean nothing and the numbers you cited are what matters, but if you’re using these skewed numbers as “proof” that men are worse drivers then you need to do a lot more Math.


  3. “men were involved in 6.1 million accidents (40,000 were fatal) in 2007. By comparison, women were only involved in 4.4 million ” I’d guess that men do a lot more than 60% of the driving miles, and this statistic thus indicates that men are, per mile driven, safer drivers than women.


  4. There are so many ways to debunk this theory I don`t even know where to start. First of all, it only states that men recieve more citations and violations, but who gets pulled over more often, men or women. Secondly, like Steve said, who drives more miles or hours, men or women. If men are behind the wheel more often that women, it just stands to reason that their chances of getting into an accident increase. But of course you already knew that. Next time, do a little more thorough research


  5. I agree with the above comment. Without knowing how these statics were coorelated it is hard to say how imperical it is. Does the study take into account how many miles both women and men drive? Are men or women more likely to get pulled over and cited? How much does race place a roll if an african american man is more likely to get pulled over than a white middle age women..would that not imply that the system is stack against them to begin with.

    Without analysing whether the systems generating these statics are imperical or biased to begin with the best you have is convenient truth at best and at worst re-inforces negative stereotyping.

    It would be nice to see a drill down that shows both male female statistic by age type of car, number of hours and miles driven,whether men or women are more likely to get pulled over and cited and what factor race or age impacts the receipt and serverity of violations, etc…


  6. Every 3 months, this tiresome story hits the media: “Men are bad drivers, bad with money, cheat on their spouses……..”

    How does this count as “news”, if it’s been recycled so often?

    Get over it, and stop bashing people. I’m applying for United Nations Endangered status.


  7. My sister car had 240,000 miles and she driven it for 9 years. She driven from Georgia to Rhode Island and back four times. Provided my sister is different than the average American female.

    I’m just going to say this; doesn’t matter whether men drive more miles or not, companies just care about who is going to save them more money.

  8. Steven Stevenson


    The media picked up on this article as far afield as Australia. They just *love* gender differences stories, but only of the type where males come off worst. They often don’t bother to quote original sources, so it took me a while for me to chase this page down. Along with a recent UK parking study (which indicated *minor* gender differences, which the media then exaggerated), it appears to have been the inspiration for a large number of recent reports about male vs female driving.

    I’m pleased to see that many guys, like myself, thought about the claims made and asked the intelligent question *not* asked by the media: “But who does more road miles on average, men or women?” (If the male average was greatly higher, it could explain more road deaths caused by male drivers etc.).

    I found some national (U.S.) statistics: . These are somewhat dated (the last stat is for 2001), but since they changed little between 1990 and 2001, might be expected to give us a good indication. That page states that men drove 65% more road-miles than women (i.e. a factor of 1.65:1).

    Many of the stats in 4autoinsurancequote.com’s article above *cannot* be explained by this road-miles gender difference, e.g. males being involved in 80% of all NY city accidents that kill or seriously injure pedestrians, 40,000 male drivers vs only 14,000 females fatal accidents, reckless driving (3.41 M to 1 F ratio) and similar stats for driving under the influence and seat belt violations.

    As a masculist activist it pains me to admit it, but this is a rare case of a “males are the worst at…” gender differences story being (at minimum) substantially correct when examined at depth. (Albeit, as with many ‘gender behaviour differences’ stories, the figures might be skewed due to a small number of poorly behaved men *repeatedly* offending.)

    So *please* guys, *always* drive safely! And let’s keep trying to reason with every bloke we meet who brags about how he’s sped on public roads, how he drove drunk and didn’t get caught etc. as if such behaviors are clever and commendable. These clowns are affecting our gender’s reputation. The most aggressive drivers won’t of course *care* what is said about them, but we can only try, and hope that for the unregenerate stupid-risk-takers, Darwin’s law operates so as to kill/maim them before they kill or maim other people.

    • Steven Stevenson


      The url I gave was removed, but anyone who wants to check it can Google: “Men versus Women Average Annual Miles per Driver”.


  9. The quote “Women can’t drive!” is true in Saudi Arabia where women is legally inferior to men due to evil Sharia. If they want to go to other places, they must hire the taxi driver and paid the standardized taxi rates. Taxi rates are SAR 5 at start and then SAR 1.60 per kilometre.


  10. SOooo biased…

    #1. less women drive then men, so OFC there are going to be more accidents.
    #2. whenever there is an incident between a man and women, the female will ALWAYS WIN unless it is so obvious that she was the one at fault. dont believe me, look at divorce stats, the same thing occurs there.
    #3. Men drive more; its a fact. Do women go on road trips? NO!!! when something is needed from the store, who goes out to get it? THE MAN! BETTER YET! have you ever SEEN A FEMALE TAXI DRIVER? i haven’t, and ive seen maybe 2-3 female bus drivers in my life time.

    PS, in canada the split is EVEN WORSE. i have 2 mill liability and am paying $243 per month, for a car from 2004, which i bought for $10k(fully paid) and paid $800 to replace the breaks and battery. full coverage for me would have been $900 per month… AKA the price of my car every year. i would of had to be like $200 extra per month if i had a loan on my car… such bs.

    my sister has full coverage, 2 mill liability, and is paying $130 per month with a BRAND NEW CAR($25k on lease). she hits stuff with it all the time.

    we both got our driver licenses at the exact same time(like 5 minutes apart)

    So do the statistics take in consideration for the fact that most men don’t get full coverage because its so RIDICULOUSLY EXPENSIVE?

  11. Spaceman Spiff


    Haha I guess the myth that men are better drivers must have originated in Iowa.

    The Mythbusters should tested this!


  12. An article about how women are, in fact, terrible drivers: “OMG, it’s so true!! I SO TOLD YOU SO!! WOMEN GET OFF THE ROAD!!!”

    An article about how men get into more traffic accidents than women: “OMG THIS IS SUCH BS!! The author didn’t even take into account points A, B, and C!! This is so sexist!! (Insert multiple excuses in the male defense here.) Policemen don’t given womenz tickets because they’re hot and they cry!!”

    (Look up articles for both cases and look at the comments. People, presumably men, try to justify each view in their own defense.)

    C’mon, people, just accept that these are statistics and move on with your lives. Honestly, who really cares what sex is a better driver? Apparently, it’s perfectly fine to go around saying, “Women are worse drivers than men,” and yet when an article crops up that takes the opposite position, you all throw hissy fits? Really? How about we all stop slandering the sexes based on our own inferiority complexes and just move on with our lives? What’s defined as good driving, anyway, if not the ability to stay out of traffic accidents? Handling of the car? Okay, but if you could handle the car well, you wouldn’t be getting into traffic accidents, now would you? How about this theory: Sex and gender have nil to do with driving. Like all skills, an individual’s driving ability is based on practice and focus. If you have anger issues, that’s your own personality defect – go get help for it so you don’t go out on the roads risking the lives of other people. Here’s another theory: Idiots, regardless of sex, are bad drivers. Can’t we just leave the sexes out of it and drop the gender drama so that we can all live without disrespecting each other? My god, people are such drama queens over the stupidest things. FYI, cooties partial to one gender or the other should have been eradicated in elementary school. Grow up.


    • Women *not all but most* really do suck at driving though and men look really bad because they drive a hell of a lot more. They’re easy targets and they’ve obviously been exploited for the sake of money.


  13. I believe it has something to do with either testosterone, maturity (male go through puberty later than females) or how many more males drive because how often have you got in a taxicab with a female driver meaning all the bad female drivers don’t drive.

  14. Eamonn Turley


    Have to agree they are mostly most safer than the male of the species


  15. it’s true y’all men are terrible drivers. I don’t know how may close calls Ive had with y’all but it’s quite a lot. today I almost go hit by a guy on the expressway not paying attention. I had my blinkers on signaling that I was moving into the middle lane from the left he then (coming from a right lane) without even looking in my direction, decides he wants to move into the same lane as me with no blinkers on. I waiting for him to move into the lane before proceeding to safely move into the lane myself. did I mention he didn’t even hear my horn when I honked it to let him know he was about to get over into the middle lane because he had a FREAKING earplug in his ear! listening to music on his phone no doubt. He didn’t check his blind spot or anything. just sped down the expressway switching lanes, in and out, no blinkers, no checking blind spots, no nothing, just complete tunnel vision. very poor excuse. I have many stories with the same scenario involving men. I’m not a perfect driver, I don’t think anyone is, but I try to be courteous and cautious when I’m behind the wheel and not act like i’m on dirt 3, need for speed or grand theft auto. totally foolish. Had my nephew in the car too. Brought to mind what my parents always told me, “you have to drive for yourself and others.” I wish they had a law where everyone had to take the written and road test every year to combat this issue. seems folks conveniently “forget”.


  16. The fact Steve has made clear as well as several others has in fact been taken into account by other researchers and men do drive more but when you add those numbers and calculate correctly you find that men still get into more accidents. And if you take the time to do actual research you will find that in almost all other countries men are worse drivers. I’m sorry if you don’t agree with science but it can’t be denied if you are an educated being. Also if your excuse is that women don’t go on road trips or never drive if men are with them then you are most likely using only anecdotal evidence and are not factoring in the millions of other families around the world who work differently than yours. Also I would like to thank the author because this article has been very helpful with my drivers ed project as well as the comments in the comment section.


    • I think Emily made one important point, as to changes in family structure…mono-parental families (mother plus child/ children) are definitely becoming more common, so I am not sure as to whether the hypothesis that men get more hours on the road holds. So, I do think there are enough arguments to at least cast a doubt on the assumption (that women are bad drivers). Also, with the risk of appearing strangely empathetic here, if a person (man or woman…woman, in this case) is believed to be a bad driver, it is likely they will encounter more hostility and discouragement, and in fact become a worse driver because of it. My point being, I just cannot see any good in reinforcing the stereotype- even if the assumptions were true.


  17. Well it is real fact that Most women nowadays are very horrible drivers since they do speed and tailgate so much which makes them so very pathetic altogether. They really do need to have their drivers license taken away from them since they’re a real hazard on the road.


  18. All i know is that every time i see somone blow through a 4 way stop just to beat out the other cars who got to the stop sign first its always a woman (and usually a Hispanic woman).


  19. Just because they have less wrecks and less violations, is meaningless.
    They are aggregating on the road.

  20. The Honest Truth Is


    Most of the women today unfortunately are very horrible drivers altogether and very extremely dangerous too.

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