Are Men Better Drivers Than Women?

Updated: Mar. 25, 2022

The never-ending debate might be over.

Driving car pov on a highway - Point of View, first person perspectiveguteksk7/Shutterstock

Most people agree that being a good driver means being safe and not aggressive on the road. One debate some people still argue, however, is who drives better: men or women? Although it’s impossible to say that one gender drives better than another definitively, there are some noteworthy trends.

Male drivers tend to have more accidents

Data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) shows that male drivers tend to have more total accidents than females. The IIHS, an independent non-profit dedicated to reducing car accidents, also found that 71 percent of all motor vehicle crash deaths in 2017 were males. Although the gap has narrowed, almost every year from 1975 to 2017, the number of male crash deaths was more than twice the number of female crash deaths, per the IIHS.

The same trend holds true even if you factor in age. The number of driver fatal crash involvements in 2017 was 53 percent higher for males than for females. Plus, more men between the ages of 16 and 29 have fatal crashes than females in the same age group. This is only slightly higher for those 30 and older. The difference is largest among male and female drivers between 20 and 29. The study authors attribute these differences to men typically driving longer distances than women, and engaging in risky practices, like speeding or drinking and driving, Vice reports. Everyone should also avoid these 13 other things you shouldn’t be doing in your car.

Women might be less-confident behind the wheel

Although male drivers have more accidents, other research shows women aren’t “perfect” drivers, either. Researchers from the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute studied traffic accidents over 20 years and found that female drivers are more likely to run into a car driven by another woman than a man. The study, however, doesn’t explain possible reasons for this pattern. There is a reason for this trend that’s the most common car crash cause in the United States.

One that they might consider testing in the future is that some research also shows women are less confident behind the wheel than men. A study from UCLA exploring the relationship between new drivers’ skills and different variables, including gender, shows female students were less confident drivers than men. But both received almost the same score from driving instructors.

So are men better drivers than women?

Gender is just one factor when it comes to safe driving, along with others such as age, and even the time of day people drive. One study shows that both genders have a greater accident risk when driving at night, but males still have a higher risk at all times of the day. Driving quality also changes based on location, too, as some states are more dangerous than others. Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that Wyoming, Mississippi, and Montana have high accident death rates, without regards to gender. It goes to show that everyone should learn and practice safe driving habits instead of worrying about who drives better. And no matter who you are or where you live, everyone who drives should know the 15 things you should do within ten minutes of having a car accident.