Feminists rejoice, the AAUI President agrees that women are better drivers.
“Lady driver,” men in their cars utter, under their breath, on narrowly avoiding a collision with the fairer sex. But, while most men may not wish to admit it, studies reveal that women drivers are more careful on the road than men. Male drivers tend to take more risks while manoeuvring their cars. In a survey done for Insurer Met Life, 51% of the men said that their gender drives more safely. But men are three-to-four times more likely than women to get a ticket for reckless driving, and three-to-one times as likely to be sited for drunk driving, according to a study done by Quality Planning Research that works for insurance claim companies. “Women are, on average, less aggressive, and more law-abiding drivers.” These are attributes that lead to fewer accidents, the study says.
There may, however, be some situations where women are found to be more hesitant – and therefore less safe – than men, such as when she has the right of way or while taking a turn at a crossroads for instance. And, if it’s any consolation to male drivers, lady drivers have the tendency to park less well than men. But in all other spheres of driving, it’s the man who makes himself more noticeable by violating traffic rules. Let’s just say that you’ll seldom find headlines highlighting a serious road accident caused by a woman at the wheel. Women older than 50 years of age prove to be an exception, causing more accidents than men in the same age group.
Women drivers are increasing in number, and at a faster rate than men. Between 1995 and 2010, their number grew by 23 percent, up 2.6 million to 13.8 million, as against 1.4 million to 16.3 million for men, says a study by ARC Foundation. It’s interesting to note that in a male dominated car market like Germany, 40 percent of all new driving licenses are granted to women.
Gender based data analysis of 21 states in India reveals that 34.4 percent of all driving licenses issued in Manipur belong to women, which is the highest in the country.
Women now learn to drive at a much younger age too. Most families have more than one car, and this gives the women an opportunity to practice driving, and to acquire dexterity at the wheel. But, this could also mean that more women may become as reckless as their young male peers. So, to avoid a future in which women acquire the same aggressive driving habits as men, driver training from recognised institutions is a must – and this certificate should be made mandatory as per the Motor Vehicles Rules.
Biologically, however, young girls mature faster than boys – so it’s no surprise that their driving habits are more evolved. Women, by nature, are less aggressive. They are traditionally groomed to overcome aggression by keeping their cool, while men are more aggressive – which leads to fights on the road.
Both women and men agree on what’s required to be a good driver. But, when they evaluate themselves, both sexes diverge from each other. Men, right from childhood, want to be superior and rate themselves as better drivers than women – who are satisfied to grade themselves as average drivers. Studies show, however, that men have a lot to learn from the fairer sex!
T.K. Malhotra is the President of the Automobile Association of Upper India (AAUI).