Men certainly like to think that they are the kings of the road. Decades of being in charge behind the wheel has led to a lot of guys thinking that they can’t put a foot wrong when driving – even if driving studies and traffic cops say differently.
In the early years of motoring, male drivers were in the majority. Even in rural areas, where farm girls were more likely to get the chance to drive the family motor car only 35% of girls drove compared to 72% of boys. Given that men have been driving for a lot longer than most women, it is hardly surprising that they believe their own hype about being better drivers.
When it comes to motorsport, too, men have a distinct advantage over the fairer sex. Most of the most famous car races in the world are only contested by men, and it is only in recent years that women have been involved in the automotive industry either in front of the cameras or behind the scenes.
However, there are some signs that men are not the great drivers that they think they are. Extensive studies into driving habits have revealed some interesting findings both in the US and in other countries across Europe and Asia. Check out the list below to see some of the most common myths about male drivers – and some of the surprising truths.
20 False: They Are Less Likely To Be Pulled Over By Cops
A lot of male drivers believe that their driving is so good that they are unlikely to find themselves pulled over by the police.
On the other hand, guys also think that women’s driving is so inferior, that there is a lot for traffic cops to find fault with.
And yet the facts don’t reflect this perception at all, with men not only more likely to be pulled by law enforcement for a variety of traffic offenses but also 13% more likely to get a ticket. The only kind of traffic ticket which women are more likely to get than men is a parking ticket!
19 False: They Are Expert Mechanics
To be fair, although there are some men who think they are God’s gift to auto repairs, this is one myth about male drivers which tends to be fueled by their partners. When the car breaks down, how many wives turn to their husband, assuming that he can not only identify the problem, but also fix it, and all without running up a huge bill at the local repair shop? While some guys are comfortable carrying out basic repairs, they would draw the line at more complex jobs – and quite rightly too. Making a hash of repairs can easily end up costing a lot more money in the long run.
18 False: They Are Less Likely To Text And Drive
Texting and driving is a major hazard on American roads, responsible for over 3000 fatalities every year.
Despite the fact that male drivers are generally more likely to be stopped by the cops, and more likely to be issued with a ticket for a traffic violation when it comes to texting and driving, men are not the bad guys.
One study found that 67% of women would respond to a text while driving, compared to 65% of men, while women are also more likely to eat while driving, as well as other activities which distract them from the road, such as applying makeup or brushing their hair.
17 False: They Are Only Interested In Expensive Cars
Just because you had a poster of a Ferrari on your wall as a teenager doesn’t mean that you get to own one when you’re an adult. In fact, it doesn’t even mean that you want to own a Ferrari when you get older. There is a perception that men are only interested in the most expensive cars; the high-end top of the range luxury models and supercars that would really break the bank. The truth is much more boring. Most men are only interested in owning a car that gets them and their family safely and efficiently from A to B. The Ferrari stays a dream for most guys.
16 False: They Are Better At Parking Than Women
It’s a standard joke that women are supposed to be terrible at parking, especially parallel parking. Most male stand-up comedians have at least one lady driver gag in their repertoire, and the chances are it will revolve around their inability to park. While studies show that women feel more nervous than men while parking, most of the time it is their male passengers or other guys on the road who are making them feel nervous in the first place! There are plenty of men who struggle with parallel parking, and plenty of women who are a whizz at reverse parking their car.
15 False: They Drive Aggressively
To be fair to men, they aren’t all bad drivers. And sometimes they are accused of bad driving habits when in reality they aren’t as guilty as we might expect.
While younger men are often stopped for speeding or driving aggressively, once they get past their thirties, male drivers tend to settle down, and can often be just as safe behind the wheel as women.
While more than half of young male drivers were recorded indulging in aggressive driving, only 20% of those aged over 34 were guilty of the same offenses – just 5% more than women drivers of the same age.
14 False: They Spend A Fortune Modifying Cars
If you see an eye-catching car driving through your city – one with a custom paint job or a modification which makes its engine louder and more powerful – most people would assume that it was a young man behind the car. However, there is nothing to say that every man is going to want to spend a fortune customizing their vehicles; in fact, many are happy guys who are happy to spend as little cash as possible on their motor car beyond basic repairs that keep it running. And let’s not forget that there are plenty of women drivers who do like to spend a fortune on modifying their beloved car.
13 False: All Truckers Are Men
Once upon a time, all truck drivers really were men, and even though guys still significantly outnumber women in the industry, it is no longer safe to assume that a trucker is going to be male.
The organization Women in Trucking has found that the number of female truckers increased from 7.13% of all truck drivers in 2016 to 7.89% at the end of 2017.
Still, a long way to go before women can truly take on the guys, but high profile female truck drivers, like Lisa Kelly from TV show Ice Road Truckers, means that more and more women are seeing trucking and other driving jobs as a viable career option.
12 False: They Keep Their Cars Clean
Male drivers are also believed to be more car-proud; spending lots of time and money keeping their vehicle clean and looking good. While generally, men are more likely than women to keep the exterior and interior of their cars clean, the number of male drivers who spend a lot of time maintaining their motors is decreasing all the time. A few decades ago, men would wash the car once a week; these days, cars are lucky if they get cleaned twice a year, and even then it’s more likely to be an electronic car wash than good old-fashioned elbow grease.
11 False: They Are Better Drivers Than Women
And so we come to the greatest myth of all – the myth that men are better drivers than women. Of course, there are individual female drivers who are so bad you wonder how they ever got their license, just as there are male drivers who obey the speed limit, drive sensibly and would never dream of driving while distracted. Generally, however, studies have found that women are better and safer drivers than their male counterparts, indulging in fewer of the bad habits which annoy other road users and making fewer of those dangerous maneuvers that can put themselves and their passengers in harm’s way.
10 True: They Are More Likely To Learn At Home
When it comes to learning to drive, young men are much more likely to take lessons at home, being taken out on the road by family members or close family friends. Women seem to prefer learning from qualified instructors at a driving school.
Learning to drive with a family member can be a stressful experience, especially for teenagers who are just getting used to not being told what to do by their parents!
However, learning from someone you know is obviously a lot cheaper than paying for lessons. Unless the learner driver makes some serious mistakes and manages to wreck the car during a lesson….
9 True: They Get More DUIs
We have already seen that men are mistaken in their belief that they are less likely to be pulled over by the cops than women drivers, so it won’t come as much of a surprise to learn that men are also more likely to be found guilty of traffic violations, including DUIs. In 2010, men were responsible for four out of five DUIs, with the younger generation much more likely to drive under the influence than older drivers. States across the USA are cracking down on DUIs, but it seems that more still needs to be done to get the message to young, risk-taking male drivers.
8 True: They Get More Traffic Violations
And it isn’t just DUIs which can get male drivers into trouble with local law enforcement. In the UK, an astonishing 95% of those convicted of causing death by dangerous driving are men, while 82% of speeding offenses are committed by male drivers.
This is a pattern that is repeated all around the world, including in the USA where men are 3.4 times more likely than women to get a speeding ticket.
This cavalier approach to the laws of the road has other consequences for male drivers, as they are also more likely to be killed or injured in road accidents than their female counterparts.
7 True: Women Are Safer Drivers Than Men
Men may believe that they are safer behind the wheel than women, but the fact is that several studies have shown that the truth is quite different. Men cause 6.1 million accidents per year, compared to 4.4 million for women, according to the National Highway Safety Administration. Even taking into consideration that men, on average, still drive more than women, that is damning evidence against the male perception that they are safer drivers. Young men are even more likely to get into accidents, possibly because they are more aggressive drivers and more prone to making dangerous and risky maneuvers.
6 True: They Are More Successful In Motorsports
Aside from a few female pioneers, motorsports have been dominated by men, and continue to be a very male-only club even today.
Figures like NASCAR’s Danica Patrick and Susie Wolff of Formula One are exceptions; there are still very few women even taking part in world-class motorsport races, let alone challenging the men for victories.
While strength is important in motor racing, the physical difference between men and women is not as important when driving skills in multi-million dollar machines are being tested. Perhaps the motorsport industry will finally change its mind when we have the first female NASCAR or Formula One champion?
5 True: They Pay More For Auto Insurance
Given that men are more likely to be stopped for traffic violations like speeding and DUIs, and are more likely than women to be involved in road accidents, it is hardly surprising that auto insurance companies also charge men more for their premiums.
After all, it is much more likely that the company will have to pay out on a male driver than a female one.
However, it isn’t just driving habits which dictate the cost of your insurance; the type of car you drive also affects the insurance calculations, so if you want to save money, buy a smaller, less powerful car!
4 True: They Are More Likely To Tailgate
Tailgating is regularly voted the most annoying driving habit. Having another car driving too close behind you isn’t just annoying and intimidating, it can also be very dangerous if you are forced to make a sudden stop. A significant traffic study in the UK found that men are seven times more likely to tailgate other vehicles than women; they were also 14 times more likely to cut dangerously into traffic. These aggressive forms of driving are subtle forms of road rage – which also goes a long way towards explaining why women are more likely to be a victim of this particular crime than men!
3 True: They Prefer To Drive Instead Of Partner
Think about the couples that you know, where both the man and woman have a driving license. Chances are that when they drive together, it is the man who is in the driving seat rather than the woman.
This is nothing to do with the fact that men are better drivers – as we have seen, this simply isn’t true – but it does have a lot to do with the fact that men are more confident drivers.
Few wives and girlfriends are so keen on taking the wheel that they are willing to start an argument about it, and so men end up behind the wheel.
2 True: They Know Their Way Around A Car
Being male might not automatically make you an expert mechanic, but it is true that male drivers are more likely to know their way around a car than women. Whether we are talking about basic auto repairs like changing a wheel or replacing spark plugs, or just knowing where to locate different car parts (and what they do) men generally have a greater interest, and therefore a greater ability. A recent survey found that just 6% of men said they didn’t know how to change a tire, compared to a third of women, with 88% of men having jump-started their car compared to 75% of women.
1 True: They Have Better Driving Test Pass Rates
Despite the bad reputation of young male drivers once they have their license, they are actually better at passing their driving test than their female counterparts.
48% of male drivers pass their practical driving test the first time around, compared to 44% of women, with women taking an average of eight months to pass compared to just six months for men.
Perhaps this is down to that male confidence in their own driving abilities that we have already come across. Perhaps it is because most examiners are male, and women tend to be more successful with a fellow female in charge of the driving test.
Sources: Telegraph.co.uk,forbes.com, obrella.com,topgear.com,dailymail.com