Why are women better drivers?

Concentrating too hard?
Concentrating too hard?
The old story about whether women are better drivers than men has reared its head again. The brains of men and women work differently, which is why women have fewer accidents than men, according to research conducted at the University of Bradford. Insurance companies offer lower premiums to women as a result.

The scientists looked at how well people could switch from one task to another after having their attention "fixed" on one task and found that women are significantly better than men at shifting concentration quickly, while doing tasks such as motorway driving.

Researcher and PhD student Amarylis Fox said: "Women seem to realise that they are being asked to do something new much more quickly than men. Men tend to blindly carry on with the original task."

The researchers attributed the effect to oestrogen. Fox said: "Our study suggests that oestrogens may positively influence neuronal activity in the frontal lobes, the area of the brain stimulated by tasks of attention and rule learning, which could explain the female advantage when performing these tasks."

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  • jazzyjeff 07 Nov 2005

    Sadly this theory doesn't explain the parking phenomenon... ;-)

  • Don 07 Nov 2005

    Not this old chestnut!

    Women have fewer accidents than men.

    Sure they do. They also get less speeding tickets. Why? Because they drive less. Far, far less. In my household the wife will only drive if she absolutely has to. She'd prefer to be chauffeured everywhere - despite owning a sports car which she likes me to drive for her!

    My brother's wife simply doesn't drive. She has a licence but hates it so much that she simply won't do it. If he can't drive her she goes by public transport!

    Now I know all the PH ladies *drive*. But you aren't the majority.

    Absolutely every couple I know its *him* who does the vast majority of the miles. More miles = more accidents. More miles = more speeding tickets.

    Researching into how men and women drive differently may well find things. But are they statistically significant in comparison to the "staring you in the face" obvious reason? From where I'm looking it would seem very unlikely.

  • pdV6 07 Nov 2005

    Don said:
    Not this old chestnut!

    Women have fewer accidents than men.

    Sure they do. They also get less speeding tickets. Why? Because they drive less. Far, far less. In my household the wife will only drive if she absolutely has to.

    There are exceptions, certainly, but IME most women (even those who claim to enjoy driving) actually prefer to be passengers.

    the article said:

    Men tend to blindly carry on with the original task

    i.e. concentrate on their driving, rather than nattering or some other trivial, attention-sapping task?

  • apache 07 Nov 2005

    Of course they have fewer accidents but how many do they cause?

  • timmy30 07 Nov 2005

    Women have fewer accidents because they drive less. They also have smaller accidents when they do as the vast bulk of m-way driving ( where accidents tend to be more severe when they do happen ) is done by men.

    How do I know this? Mate who works for a large UK insurer showed me the research, the same is true for older drivers, they're not better drivers, they just drive less therefore have a statistically smaller chance of being in a serious accident.

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