Who are better drivers, men or women?
For decades that I’ve been involved in road safety I often hear people say they’re good drivers. What makes them say that? Is it because they haven’t been in any crashes? Or maybe they haven’t been in crashes that have been deemed their fault? Is it because they haven’t had any tickets? What makes someone say they are good drivers? What about gender? Are men better drivers than women or are women better drivers than men?
I’ve been asked this for years; who are better drivers – men or women. The easy answer to this question is; yes. It depends on the individual. No, it’s not a cop out. It’s actually the truth. Think about it. I’m sure you know men and women who have gotten a ticket because of aggressiveness or poor decisions on their part. I do. Both were in a hurry because they were late and wanted to save time. You can’t save time when time is already gone. Speeding won’t get it back. This man and woman both did the same thing. In that challenge, they both lost.
I’ve taught many people over the years, both male and female who were very aware of their surroundings and took driving seriously. They used good judgement and ensured they were safe behind the wheel. How can we judge a few (or a few million) drivers based on gender? That’s like saying all Canadians know each other. (We don’t by the way).
Before writing this article I looked up different “research” that was done to help decide who the better drivers were. Some of the research said men were the better driver and some of the research said women were the better driver. I took that research like a political poll. It’s only asking a small percentage of all those involved. It’s not necessarily accurate. Yes, we have our opinions, but opinions are like elbows – we tend to have a couple of them. We need statistics.
Many of the statistics show men receive more tickets for speeding, won’t wear their seatbelt and get into more collisions than women. Sometimes this is about attitude and behavior. But this doesn’t mean women don’t do those things too. In many jurisdictions, there are more male drivers than female drivers. Perhaps that has anything to do with it. We’re all guilty of the decisions we make, but not because of the gender we are.
There are many factors that should be taken into account when deciding who’s the better driver; did they take driver training, was their driver training a quality program, how was the testing during their government road test, was there a graduated licencing system in place, what type of traffic do they drive in, what time of day do they drive, do they drive alone or with passengers, how often do they drive and how many miles/kilometers do they drive annually? These are all worthy questions before labeling someone a good or bad driver.
When I was involved with Canada’s Worst Driver as an on-air judge during their first 3 seasons on Discovery Network, many of these participants were bad drivers. Actually, they were all bad drivers (hence the title of the show). Half were men and half were women. We couldn’t label the driver because of gender. We took their driving mentality and ability and measured it while they drove each challenge.
No one likes to be labeled by their appearance or gender. If you want to be classified as the better driver, you’ll have to prove it. It’s about how to drive not who you are.