Are women really bad drivers?

After seeing the video below, you might be inclined to believe that no one could be as bad a driver as this woman (it’s also shocking how calm the two guys seem to be, as if this happens all the time).

There seems to be a general consensus that women are bad drivers, but guys are guilty of things like this. It’s not necessarily bad driving (some would argue it took a lot of skill), it’s just stupid.

Do women multi-task more than guys? I’ve seen a woman putting on makeup while she was driving, but I saw a guy reading a book, so both genders are guilty of doing things that can distract them while driving.

Are women really worse drivers than men? Insurance rates should be a defining factor and from what I hear, policies for women have lower premiums.

(videos via reddit)





  1. I guess it depends on definition of bad driving. Even though it’s stated a lot, I’m not sure women are better multitaskers. I’d say they are definitely more observant than guys in social situations, but not on the road. There was an experiment a while back that showed a direct correlation between players of first-person shoot-em-up games and awareness of one’s surroundings (crucial in driving). Both sexes showed similar improvements, but I think guys tend to engage in this activity more often and thus have the advantage. Going along with that, my personal observations are that a lot of women I know are more oblivious to the ambient external environment, and perhaps consequentially or not, they drive more conservatively. That may be because they have more distractions inside (kids, putting on makeup, etc). However, driving slow is often not a good thing. Slow traffic invites accidents. Merging onto the freeway at 50 when traffic is going 70 is very bad. Speed doesn’t kill – it’s the sudden decelleration that does.

      » Comment by A guy on February 8, 2007 @ 10:22 am
  2. “There seems to be a general consensus that women are bad drivers” — ??? Really, Dan — I would expect better from you than a dated, sexist remark. I sincerely doubt there is a “general consensus” among WOMEN that women are bad drivers. Or doesn’t the opinion of half the population factor into this sterotyping? “I’ve seen a woman putting on makeup while she was driving, but I saw a guy reading a book, so both genders are guilty of doing things that can distract them while driving.” Yes, both sexes are equally capable of being distracted while driving, but to condemn an entire sex based on two observances seems a bit short-sighted, no? It’d be like saying that one time I read this one (white/LDS/married/college-educated/etc.) guy’s blog and it contained a very insensitive, unfounded sexist remark and therefore (white/LDS/married/college-educated/etc.) men are guilty of being sexist. This kind of thinking just makes me bristle, espeically when I see/hear remarks that are put out there in a way where it seems the author/speaker expects such “truths” to be received as, well, truth. Women put up with enough crud; please don’t heap it back on by repeating baseless claims like “women are bad drivers.”

    I almost wonder if you didn’t post this just to irritate the female population.

      » Comment by Karalyn on February 11, 2007 @ 3:46 pm
  3. Karalyn: I can assure you I had no intention of irritating the female population with this post. My comment about the consensus was in reference to the comments on reddit, where I originally saw the video, but I realize it lost that context by the time I posted it.

    However, where are you getting the idea that I’m condemning an entire sex based on two observations? My two observations illustrate that both men and women can be bad drivers. That was the point of the second video – showing that guys do stupid things while driving.

    I believe guys are more aggressive drivers and get into stupid accidents whereas women often get into accidents because they’re not paying attention. I could be wrong and I have no statistics to back my opinion up, nor do I need to because it wouldn’t be an opinion if there were facts to prove it. Everyone has opinions on things, perhaps built on faulty premises or unfair stereotypes. If you believe that all white, LDS, married, college-educated guys are jerks, so be it. It’s your opinion and you very well may be right.

      » Comment by dan on February 11, 2007 @ 6:55 pm
  4. Yeesh. I never called anyone a “jerk.” Sexist? Yes. Jerk? Well, I suppose it wouldn’t be a huge leap, but I didn’t make it.

    The thing is, I haven’t visited your blog in a while; generally, when I have read your posts, they have been insightful, interesting, and logical. This post, however, smacked of dated sexist thinking, and so casually — saying that women don’t pay attention while driving. I don’t even know where to begin.

    Yes, it’s your opinion, and you’re entitled to it. But the small fact, buried at the bottom of your post almost dismissively, is that women pay lower insurance rates than men; so I guess since you have your belief, and I have a fact supporting my views, that should be enough consolation to silence me. But I’m not sure what bothers me more — that you posted this so matter-of-factly, or that no one else has bothered to, well, be bothered by it; I felt like someone should at least voice objection to such views. Why couldn’t you just say that some *people* are bad drivers and leave it at that? Why does sex have to come into it at all? And yet the title of your post is “Are women really bad drivers?” and then you post a video of a woman driving into a wall. Hmm.

    Please know that my comments not meant so much as angry rebuttal but as surprise and very sincere disappointment.

      » Comment by Karalyn on February 12, 2007 @ 8:35 am
  5. I understand you didn’t call anyone a jerk, I am willingly admitting the possibility myself. It’s also possible that I’m sexist.

    Our genders differ in many areas and I become frustrated when, in the name of avoiding sexist remarks, no one is permitted to note their differences. Men and women are different – that’s a fact – and pretending the differences don’t exist doesn’t make them go away. I still maintain that men and women drive differently, and I find it humorous how the videos illustrated two examples. Of course two examples don’t characterize an entire gender’s driving habits, but I never claimed they did.

    I did not mean to disappoint you or anyone, but I sincerely believe that we can learn more by exploring the differences than we can by avoiding the issue for fear of offending someone.

      » Comment by dan on February 12, 2007 @ 11:09 am
  6. I am a woman and I think I am a good driver. I do think there are more bad “woman” drivers out there than “male” drivers. I’ve driven with bad male drivers too, but more bad female drivers.

    I think if women get really upset by this it means they are probably a bad driver and are sensitive to the issue. Good women drivers will laugh and agree that they have friends who are poor drivers.

    I don’t think it’s a sexist question, Dan. And I agree with everything the first guy said.

      » Comment by katie on February 21, 2007 @ 6:34 am
  7. *hiss teeth*…ok first and foremost, hearing an idea and taking it as ones own concept can be called and is stereotyping. But hearing an idea, then experiencing it on a regular to a daily basis, and then making it ones personal concept is in no way stereoytping, but instead creates a true opinion. Therefore me saying that most females “cant drive to save their lives” is not stereotypical, but a very substantial opinion, as i witness this ‘bad driving’ from my female counterparts everyday when driving in Jamaica (where i live). But i know that this problem or ‘idea’ does not exist only in Jamaica as it very visible when i visit other countries.
    One summer i visited the U.S. and a roadway accident occured near the house i was staying at. A lady had parked her S.U.V. on Kings Highway, when a couple minutes later another lady travelling along the highway slammed her S.U.V. into the parked one. Now both these women are guilty of foolish driving. Firstly, how can you park your car on a Highway? i’m not at all aware of the roadway laws in the U.S. but i would think an act like that deserves a ticket, as it was very unitelligent and dangerous. Secondly, i’m not exactly sure what caused the other woman to charge into the parked S.U.V. but im going to make a wild guess. I’m guessing she assumed the car was not parked and in fact moving, without further thinking she plowed into the vehicle. Now this is not the only occurence that led me to my conclusion of this problem existing everywhere in the world, as have experienced many more.
    So, though there are females who can drive as well as, or maybe even better than any male, there are still those that a very poor drivers, and these are they that make up the majority of female drivers. I can therefore safely say the majority of female drivers “can’t drive to save their lives”.

      » Comment by Dude on February 28, 2007 @ 7:00 pm
  8. Funny… a male driving a truck rear-ended a woman driving a mini van. He slaughtered all three of her children 7 and under–who were all tightly buckled in their car seats in the center row of a 5-star safety rated mini van– in that moment of inattention. Should I, from observation of this crash, determine that male drivers are more inattentive than females? Statistically speaking, the most fatal accidents are caused by men. That’s the only stat that matters.

      » Comment by Michele on July 29, 2007 @ 10:13 pm
  9. This accident is easily googled: Coble family children killed

    It occurred in Orange County, CA not more than a few months ago.

      » Comment by Michele on July 29, 2007 @ 10:14 pm
  10. Michele: No, from your observation of a single crash you can deduce nothing, given it’s simply anecdotal. Regarding your claim of male drivers “statistically speaking” causing more fatal accidents, is that per capita or simply overall? If there are more male drivers on the road, then of course they would cause more fatal accidents.

      » Comment by dan on July 30, 2007 @ 8:16 pm
  11. I think there’s a distinction to be made here: “good driver” as in having good SKILLS? Or “good driver” as in driving SAFELY?

    This is a generalization, but ON AVERAGE I think that women take less risks on the road. But in terms of actual SKILLS, I think men are better. Now, before you feminists slam me, read on please…

    Let’s face it: if you take greater risks on the road (driving faster, tail-gating other people, etc), then you will acquire better skills, simply because you FORCED to overcome the dangerous situations you have created for yourself. When you drive recklessly, you are faced with emergency situations that give you more PRACTICE. When you drive recklessly, you DEVELOP better driving skills because you are CHALLENGED by greater difficulties on the road. It’s a sad fact, but I think it’s true. Try this mental experiment: get two new drivers, train one driver in a difficult obstacle course with dangerous situations and high speeds, and train the other driver on a safe, straight course — who’s going to develop better driving skills?

    Men tend to drive more recklessly and more daringly, and I think that (ironically) makes them “better drivers” in terms of having better skills.

    Now, before I get accused of over-generalization, I’ll admit it myself: yes, I am over-generalizing. I’m only talking about “men” and “women” ON AVERAGE. I’m not sexist. I’m just saying what I see. From my experience, most men have better driving skills, and I’m offering my explanation for that.

      » Comment by Kev on April 10, 2008 @ 7:40 am
  12. Responding to #2 –
    “There seems to be a general consensus that women are bad drivers”
    this is not a racist remark. It’s stating the truth. There IS a consensus. Stating the obvious truth does not necessarily mean oneself agrees.

      » Comment by Will on April 14, 2010 @ 4:24 pm


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