A University of Michigan study found women to be bad dr... A University of Michigan study found women to be bad drivers (xJasonRogersx, Flickr).
A University of Michigan study of 6.5 million car crashes will undoubtedly be the source of many tense discussions around the kitchen table if not Vegas comedy riffs, finding that an inordinate number of accidents happen when both drivers are women.

Insert your own tired women-are-bad-drivers comment here. And if you post this story on your Facebook page, get ready for a commenta-palooza.

Michael Sivak, the study's principal author and a research professor who studies human factors in car accidents, is hesitant to come out and say women are worse drivers than men. But since men drive more miles every day than women, the neighborhood sexist will have a field day with this little bit of data.

Using the General Estimate System data from a nationally representative sample of police-reported crashes, the researchers expected to find that male-to-male crashes would account for 36.2% of accidents, female-to-female would make up 15.8% and male-to-female would make up 48% of crashes.

Instead, they found female-to-female accidents made up 20.5% of all crashes, much higher than expected. Male-to-male crashes were lower than expected, at 31.9%, and male-to-female crashes were 47.6%.

Why the discrepancy? The study doesn't offer any hard reasons. Women and men may have different experiences with different driving scenarios, have different abilities to handle those scenarios, and may feel like there are different expectations on their behavior.

It's essentially a nature vs. nurture argument, saying gender stereotypes dominate driving behavior: In other words, men do most of the driving, and women, who ride along as passengers, are less experienced or confident -- thus prone to wrecks.

But there could be another reason, the researchers say, so they're not ruling out any possibilities.
Are men better drivers than women?
Yes 20362 (66.9%)
No 6079 (20.0%)
They're equal 4010 (13.2%)


Intersections are particularly troublesome for women: They're often t-boned on the driver's side while trying to make a left turn, or are hit on the passenger side while trying to make a right-hand turn, the research shows.

Those crashes could be caused by height differences, the study says, because women tend to be shorter than men and have a harder time seeing out the windows. This issue is becoming worse, not better, with modern cars, as designers have been creating higher in-car "belt-lines," the height of the door relative to the driver before the window glass begins.

But besides being shorter, women may also have some brain differences that work against them. Some studies show men are better able to perceive time and speed and can more easily rotate 3-D figures in their brains, skills which are helpful enough to overcome other risky behaviors behind the wheel.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, it's tough to get the usual third party experts to weigh in on this study. Consumer Reports said it would pass on AOL Autos request for comment. Ford Motor Co., whose executive in charge of environmental and safety engineering is a woman, also passed on commenting.

A Ford spokesman did say that women order safety options on their cars at a much higher rate than men. Turns out that's a wise decision.

Every academic study, even those peer reviewed, has supporters and detractors.

Rather than looking at the national Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS)-- which most safety advocates use because it is based on police-reported data from the most severe and most documented kinds of crashes, those that resulted in a death -- it uses the National Household Travel Survey for its mileage counts. That survey is conducted every decade or so, and asks drivers to keep a diary of their travel, which could be easily fudged. It also looks at a sampling of accident data from police records, which is not as comprehensive as the fatality database.

Plus, it doesn't mention the fact that women are more likely to be driving with children, who are among the biggest distractions in a car.

Sivak's research contradicts other studies like one in Britain that showed men take more risks and drive more powerful cars. That study also showed that although women also have their fair share of crashes, those accidents often happen at slower speeds, so they tend to be less severe.


Bottom Line: The University of Michigan study shows that crashes involving female drivers running into female drivers is higher than expected given the number of miles women drive versus men. While the study is interesting, and gives chauvinists and comedians fresh fodder to bash women drivers, there is plenty of room to challenge the study's validity.


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 503 Comments
      sjpxmas
      • 3 Years Ago
      WHEN SHE KNOWS SHE HAS TO STOP UP AHEAD SHE JUST DOESN'T PLAN FOR IT, SHE SLAMS ON HER BRAKES AT THE LAST SECOND, LIKE IT WAS A BIG SURPRISE SHE HAD TO STOP. THAN AT EVERY START UP SHE PUSHES DOWN ON THE GAS PEDAL TO MAKE MY HEAD SNAP BACK, WOMEN JUST DO NOT UNDERSTAND THE MECHANICS OF DRIVING. I TELL HER TO PLAN YOUR STOPS, TO COME TO A SMOOTH STOP, PRESS ON THE GAS SLOWLY TO MAKE A SMOOTH GET AWAY.. SHE JUST DOES NOT GET IT...
        Rebekah Dunwoody
        • 3 Months Ago
        @sjpxmas

        I've seen plenty of men do the exact same thing u r describing women doing, so u can't put that action all on women ....sorry bud

      Drew
      • 3 Years Ago
      Its a well known fact that Men's Brains are more "wired / programmed" for "spatial vision thinking", which is what's needed for driving (and also for hunting). Women's brains are more wired for social interactions, nurturuing, language...etc. Even in traditional families (the few that the male-parent-bashing so-called Family Courts of NJ have not yet destroyed), most women prefer the husband to do the driving when they are travelling together. That's because they know the man is usually more skillful a driver, focused on the road, vs. the woman is a better "multi-tasker" talking on the phone, watching the baby in the car-seat... and more "scatterbrained" but that can lead to accidents.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I am female and I agree with this article, but would have liked to have seen it seperated by age group. I have seen more female drivers under the age of 30 make some of the dumbest moves I have seen and I have been driving for many years. The only accident was when a male driver hit me from behind.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Most women are horrible drivers. No excuses! They are overly cautious and can't handle all of the distractions. 80% of them should just sit in the passenger seat, so they won't hurt anyone.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Aww now this study is wrong lol! Come onnn! All I know is I drive better than my husband but I will give him credit because he does parallel park better than I. I think it demands on the scenario just like the article suggested. "Why the discrepancy? The study doesn't offer any hard reasons. Women and men may have different experiences with different driving scenarios, have different abilities to handle those scenarios, "
      lacadre
      • 3 Years Ago
      "Intersections are particularly troublesome for women: They're often t-boned on the driver's side while trying to make a left turn, or are hit on the passenger side while trying to make a right-hand turn, the research shows." As a retired accident investigation officer/detective I have to challenge the accuracy of the above statement. Left turners are usually hit on their passenger side by on coming traffic and right turners are usually hit on the driver's side. Just my two cents worth.
      alissa
      • 3 Years Ago
      I agree with the person who posted this is sexist...it is. Its not calling "A spade a spade"...nobody can generalive. Mens rates are higher because of their gender - that gender speeds and causes accidents. Anyone I know who has had an accident (being their fault) has always been a male. I agree that men love to make fun of women and put them down...,so I wonder too how they can stand us. I would like to see AOL print an article cutting men down then. Lets make it equal.
      Hi Patty
      • 3 Years Ago
      oh pleeze! Women and men are about equal, take in consideration that women have a lot on their minds like childcare, marketing, preparing meals, carpooling, etc, and if that were not enough, work! I've seen some pretty dummy men drivers so both genders are at fault. So does the car insurance industry have any data? I hope not, if you are correct then they will say we are more at risk and up the premium.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Wait a minute, if you actually read the article it really says the percentages for women crashing into women is higher than expected. It's still LOWER than
        Tristan
        • 2 Months Ago

        Because more male drivers are in the road than females... more driverss=more accidents. The only problem is there are more than just 10% more male drivers Than female drivers and the difference in crashes is 10%. There would be far fewer female to female crashes if they were as good as men at driving.

      • 3 Years Ago
      Wait a minute, if you actually read the article it really says the percentages for women crashing into women is higher than expected
      • 3 Years Ago
      I think both genders are to blame and compliment. Both women and men can allow themselves to be too distracted or both can choose to stay focused. A lot has to do with your personality too. Driving requires enough attention, don't add more multi-tasking to the endeavor. SaveCreatively is super for both genders and makes things simple and easy.
      Vanessa
      • 3 Years Ago
      Woman are always multi tasking doing 10 things at one time,(kids, shopping, doctors appts., activities for kids) and that's the reason they have more accidents. Trying to get everything done and keep everybody happy in one day. The"re not superwoman but sometimes have to be.
    • Load More Comments