The battle of the sexes has been raging on ever since humans roamed the earth the opportunity to compete was given. “Men are better drivers than women,” and “That car is running sloppily, I bet it’s a lady behind the wheel,” are some of the stereotypical statements we hear, plus of course the favourite on-road insult among many, “You drive like a girl!”
Whether you think it’s fair or not, women have been judged, and more “proof” against their driving prowess has been piling up. Official figures from the Driving Standards Agency show that men are faster learners than women when it comes to learning how to drive, and men are also more likely to pass their driving test the first time.
But wait. The data focuses on the pass rate—but being able to pass the first time doesn’t necessarily mean one is a good driver. Let’s take a closer look at the issue and see whether men really are better drivers, or if they are just quicker studies. After all, they’ve been conditioned to drive ever since they were young lads playing with toy cars!
Driving test pass rates have consistently been higher for men than women all throughout England, Wales, and Scotland. In 2013, 48 percent of male learner drivers who took the driving test passed the first time around, compared to 44 percent of female learners. The DSA numbers also indicate that men only need six months to prepare for their practical driving test while women need eight.
Practical and theory: who’s better?
You also have to consider that boys’ brains are hot-wired to lean towards the practical side of things, while girls are keen on studying and getting the academic part of the test right. Additionally, especially for rural areas, lads tend to take on work at home or in another town or county that require them to drive. Basically, they’ve had more practice behind the wheel than girls and so tend to be more relaxed when it’s time to take the practical test. Boys, however, tend to muddle up or barely pass their theory test. In contrast, the girls usually pass the theory part of the test confidently but become nervous come test day.
Confidence and experience
Women are more likely than men to lack confidence in specific driving skills, particularly parallel parking. Nerves really do get the better of women when it comes to the practical driving test, and when nerves come into the equation, mistakes can happen. The lack of confidence of women can spring from any number of things: from worrying about what the instructor thinks, to being overly afraid to make mistakes.
Men may be better at passing their driving tests, but if you take a look at crash statistics, they are also the ones who have more accidents than women after their tests. This is why young men pay more for their insurance. Men may perform better the first time, but they’re also more likely to be overconfident behind the wheel and disregard road rules and regulations. Women, however, are better at taking the theory test and are considered to be the safer motorists.