The age-old gender argument about who is better at daily tasks continues to wear on. When it comes to cars and getting on the road, are women better than men? Or do men trump us in all things to do with motors?
Women are supposedly better at juggling tasks and taking care of home life, while it’s the men who are the protectors, providers and risk takers. At least that’s what some traditions would have us believe. But is it true? Is it even fair to generalise about people’s abilities based on gender alone?
There are bound to be some women who are great behind the wheel. We’re sure there are some men who can stick to the speed limit even when they’re running late. We know women can be as bad as men when it comes to road rage. We decided to look at the studies and research to see who is usually better at what when it comes to driving and cars.
When it comes to getting a driving licence, women take longer than men. Although we’re fine with the theory of driving and can pass this more consistently the first time around than the guys, the practical test is our downfall. Men are more likely to pass their driving test on the first try.
However, while it takes us women longer to get our licence, we’re more likely to stick to the rules of the road. Men outweigh women with car offences by a massive four to one. What’s more, they’re 11 times more likely to be convicted of unsafe driving offences.
Forgetting to put a seatbelt on, driving unsafe vehicles and using a phone behind the wheel is much more common for men than women. Men also outnumber women by five to one for drunk driving offences. As for driving without tax or insurance, men beat women at that too, at a rate of two to one.
So, women drivers take longer to get their licence, but once they do, they’re usually safer on the road.
According to Be Wiser Insurance, women are more conscious of fuel consumption than men. Because of this, they’re more efficient with their driving. Women change gears faster to avoid the car’s engine working too hard.
Women also brake less aggressively which adds to fuel efficiency. Female route planning tendencies are also better. We’re more likely to make one well-planned trip each day that includes multiple tasks than to take many smaller trips for individual errands. Because women plan their journeys in this way, they save more fuel.
Men travel 1% more in cars than women do. However, men use cars more for commuting and long journeys. Women have a more varied car use. They are generally responsible for car journeys related to school runs, grocery shopping and other household errands. Women are more likely to use public transport for commuting to work.
Car maintenance and care
The stereotype that men are better with car maintenance was checked out by Jardine Motors with a ‘show me, tell me’ practical test. Their findings for UK drivers showed women had better car maintenance knowledge than men.
Only 47% of females could not perform various safety checks – 56% of men were flummoxed. 77% of women knew how to check their tyre tread and pressure, but only 30% could change a tyre. Men trumped women here – 53% knew how to replace a flat tyre.
Although women were better with the car maintenance knowledge, they weren’t exemplary. Women and men could both do with getting better at basic car maintenance. Understanding how to top up fluids, check tyres and carry out basic maintenance tasks is important for taking care of your wheels. It also helps when shopping for a used car because you’ll know what to look for.
When it comes to parking, it depends on which study you look at to find if women are better than men, or vice versa. One American study found that men were better at parking thanks to biological and social factors.
In this study, men were more accurate and faster parkers than women. The researchers attributed their parking prowess to spatial cognition and socio-psychological factors such as social expectations and personal feelings about parking ability.
A different study, carried out by National Car Parks (NCP) in Britain found the opposite to be true. Men were faster at parking their cars than women, but women were more accurate.
Accuracy was based on how central the car was to the parking lines. 77% of women took their time finding the right approach angle and 53% parked their cars correctly on the first try. Male drivers, on the other hand, ended up in the centre of the parking spot just 25% of the time on the first try.
When it comes to the research, it appears that women are better drivers than men. We may take longer to get our licence, but once we’re on the road, we’re safer, more economical and even know more about taking care of our wheels than men do. That could be the reason behind the persistent belief that a used car with only one woman owner is the best deal you can get.