Tag Archives: battle of the sexes

Are women really better drivers than men – and how does this affect insurance?

It’s a contentious and controversial argument which has been debated for decades – and will probably still run for several decades more. Perhaps it will never end.

We’re talking about the battle of the sexes behind the wheel – are men better drivers than women, or is it the other way around?

Driving stereotypes are ingrained and hard to shift. Thus, female drivers are often tagged as unable to park properly – especially reversing into a parking space – while male motorists are too often seen as aggressive, fast driving types who would rather turn a one-hour journey into a six-hour trip than simply ask for directions.

But are these truths or myths? And in the ongoing contest of women drivers versus their male counterparts, who are the better drivers?

Recent research seems to favour females. In fact, the Telegraph reported both in 2015 and 2016 that surveys revealed women are the ‘better’ drivers. Tests on motorists while in the car and when approaching London’s busy Hyde Park Corner junction yielded a stronger performance from women, who scored 23.6 points from a maximum of 30. The male drivers monitored managed 19.8 points in comparison.

Some of the results showed clear divides between driving behaviours. For example, 14% of men were witnessed ‘cutting dangerously into traffic’ while only 1% of women were. When it came to ‘driving too close to the vehicle in front’, 27% of men did so; only 4% of women did. And 79% of female drivers were considered to have shown ‘adequate use of mirrors’ compared to just 46% of men. Of course, this isn’t a definitive verdict but an interesting sample study.

Meanwhile, in this article titled 13 driving myths uncovered created by RAC Breakdown cover – data from an NCP survey suggested women were also more skilled at parking than men. It used surveillance on 2,500 drivers across 700 NCP car parks to come to the conclusion that while men were quicker at parking, women were more likely to park cars ‘in the middle of a bay’.

Driving proficiency obviously has a bearing on road safety but also insurance costs. Historically, primarily because male drivers are involved in a higher proportion of road traffic accidents, they were typically charged more for insurance than women. However, an EU ruling in December 2012 prevented insurance companies from discriminating on the basis of gender alone, instead pricing premiums of other data. What happens to that ruling in the wake of the Brexit decision remains to be seen.

What’s interesting is that, according to an article published by the Guardian earlier in 2017, instead of the price gap between men and women narrowing, it has widened. Back in 2012, it says, male drivers paid on average £27 more for an annual car insurance policy. Now, that amount has grown to £101. Despite the ruling, in general terms, women drivers have benefited from insurance pricing. Men are still considered higher risk. Instead, insurers are increasingly using more targeted data and analysing specific factors such as age, driving history and occupation calculate premiums based on the probability of risk.

As an extension of that, telematics – also known as black box – insurance is a way of monitoring driver behaviour and performance, as a means of rewarding safer drivers with lower premiums. It can track braking and acceleration to calculate a driving ‘score’ which could then lead to a reduced price at renewal time.

This means, regardless of whether you’re a man or woman, you have the ability to lower your insurance costs by driving carefully and responsibly – although black box insurance is usually available to younger motorists only.

Fuel forecourt fiascos: female vs male drivers

Motorist filling up - close upI’m not at all surprised that men are more likely than women to run out of fuel and to fill up with the wrong sort.

We hear of this happening a lot so if you were to put the wrong fuel ie petrol in a diesel car here is some useful information to help you know what is the best thing to do.

Fuelling the battle of the sexes?

When it comes to the battle of the sexes there are two motoring awards that few men want to win, namely that of running out of fuel and putting the wrong type of fuel in their car.

Yet one in five (23%) – or an estimated 6.6m – UK motorists* admit to having run out of fuel at least once and more than a fifth (ie 22%) more men than women say they have fallen foul of an empty tank.

Of those who were left high and dry after ‘playing fuel roulette’ and losing, the majority ie 61% were men.

Happily, three quarters of us all claim never to have been caught out here, yet once again men are likely to be repeat offenders even if the statistics are small – 6% of men have run out of fuel more than once compared to 4%.

Not just that but research from the RAC** reveals that men are more likely than women to put the wrong type of fuel into their tank on a forecourt with 13% of men saying they have done so in contrast to 8% of women.

Just for the record, last year the RAC dealt with more than 22,000 ‘out of fuel’ incidents and a further 30,000 ‘misfuellings’ on average.

The ‘fuelish’ gender risk

Why do men seem to relish risking running out of fuel more than women? Why are they more likely to fill up with the wrong stuff? Maybe it’s down to their testosterone levels, a strong sense of misplaced confidence (I’m sure I can make it to the next forecourt) or their much reported inability to multi-task (such as adding fuel whilst thinking)? Only joking about the last one guys ;).

One thing is for certain, the number of ‘running out of fuel’ incidents increases when fuel prices are rising, suggesting that too many motorists are trying to make it to the nearest filling station with the lowest prices, regardless of gender.

RAC Technical Director David Bizley reminds us that running out of fuel and misfuelling can be seriously more ‘costly’ mistake to make in the end.

“Running out of fuel can result in motorists being stranded in dangerous places on the road and misfuelling can be very expensive, particularly if a vehicle suffers damage as a result of the wrong fuel being sent around the system.

“More than one in 10 people surveyed say they have run out of fuel on the motorway, putting themselves in a very dangerous situation unnecessarily.

“The best advice is always to ensure you have the right amount of fuel for the journey ahead. If you are on a long motorway journey, it’s a good idea to fill up at the nearest services, rather than risking waiting for the one after, running out completely and ruining your journey.”

Personally I can’t understand why anyone risks running out of fuel. Why not fill up at the right price when the vehicle is half full, not nearly empty? No difference to my fuel bills, just my peace of mind and potentially my road safety too as worrying about fuel levels is bound to affect my driving concentration.


*The one in five (23%) figure based on number of people who admit to running out of fuel once or more has then been extrapolated and based on 29.1m UK drivers (Vehicle Licensing Statistics 2013).

**This research was carried out among 1,463 UK drivers as part of a bespoke RAC Opinion Panel during May 2014.

Battle of the sexes revisited…

Blurred Lines: The New Battle of the Sexes...BBC
Blurred Lines: The New Battle of the Sexes…BBC
I missed Kirsty Wark’s TV programme on Thursday but have just caught it on iPlayer. It’s called ‘Blurred Lines – The Battle of The Sexes.’

Kirsty was remarkably balanced about the whole thing which the Guardian described as ‘illuminating and stimulating’ but I found depressing and disturbing.

The programme looked at challenging gender-related areas including pornography, attitudes to rape, bullying online behaviour and varying degrees of misogyny.

Apparently it’s thought possible by some that women might have gone too far in their quest for equality so some, usually beleaguered, men are starting to hate us for it.

Some women (including me) were offended by extreme male behaviour here, some thought this was old hat stuff and some laughed it off, calling it ironic or best ignored. I think we’re wrong to dismiss this so lightly.

Areas of gender abuse the programme didn’t tackle

+ the abusers were almost exclusively male

+ some young females seemed to side with the males rather than their victims

+ alcohol clearly numbs the senses when it comes to public decency (including students on the train) but is this an excuse?

+ females who felt entitled to flaunt their bodies (sometimes for money as in models and prostitutes) seemed oblivious to their lost respect and the impact their bare behaviour has on other women/their gender.

Battle of the sexes concerns


The programme got me thinking about…

+ The temptation for feisty females to want to be more like men to be accepted in their career roles. How unambitious is that? Shouldn’t ambitious women want to do/be better AND be themselves? Not copycat men?

+ Rod Liddle’s attitude that women should ‘man up’ for serious online abuse because ‘it’s the same for men’. No it isn’t Rod; you might be used to it because you actively rattle cages but few women do; gender abuse is usually made by male bullies who are out to frighten women. And succeed.

+ Young women who feel that misogynistic abusive attitudes have to be lived with, like the young girl who was prepared to put up with not being able to play her interactive shoot-em-up PC games at night because of the online abuse she received. For being a woman.

The motoring industry perspective

Now what has all this got to do with FOXY Lady Drivers Club? Yes I run a motoring club for women within a masculine oriented industry so you might think I’d want to jump on any battle of the sexes bandwagon.

But I don’t recognise this level of offensive behaviour and this programme has helped put into perspective the industry’s leaning towards ‘Loaded-like’ models in advertising and promotional situations. I still feel sorry for scantily-clad girls who feel the need to do this at exhibitions and I am frequently offended by unnecessarily sexual motoring-related adverts and websites but I do find that when businesses/advertisers realise these can be offensive, they are less likely to do this again. Many in charge simply don’t realise that this is still going on in their business…

But it must be said – the majority of us, men and women, know that misogynistic behaviour isn’t appropriate today. In defence of women who don’t want to be seen as sex objects, I also defend men who don’t want to go shopping, do the cleaning or change nappies. You don’t have to…

You don’t have to because life is a series of relationships and we need to work hard to get them right if we want to.

If men or women are to be the sole breadwinner and/or the chief business honcho their partner will presumably support them to do their bit.

If a man and women compete for a promotion they have to assume the best one gets it (and try for the next one if it isn’t them).

If men and women in the same relationship are both heading up the career path one can assume they’ll have enough money for nannies, cleaners and gardeners…

So what’s the problem in terms of equality here?

The problem is often created within the media as was well illustrated by Rod Liddle’s attitude, some awful comments made about historian Mary Beard (who shouldn’t have been asked to comment about them I felt) and the troll-like behaviour that seems to zoom in from all parts of the world wherever women can be put down by men.

Women don’t do this about men, nor should we ever start to I hope..

But even so, women must not let misogyny flourish through well-intentioned apathy. Everyday sexism needs to be outed so that others think twice before resorting to this themselves. Simply hurling gender abuse without engaging the brain first needs to be managed more effectively by websites than ever before. If the post uses offensive words delete it. If the post is abusive delete it. And if there isn’t already (I’m not sure), there should surely be a central repository for all online abuse that gets investigated by the internet police. Regardless of gender.

The greatest disservice an otherwise excellent TV programme like this one achieves is that the rest of us forget that it is but a very small minority of individuals, usually male, that resort to this bad behaviour.

Let’s all remember that it’s usually enlightened men that have helped today’s high flying females to get where they are, because the males know it’s the right thing to do… and because otherwise UK business and our society in general is missing out on 50% of the available gender talent.

For me, I cannot speak too highly for the encouragement I have had from so many men in the UK motor industry. They want it to be a more gender diverse industry and together we are making genuine inroads into burying the ‘last male bastion’ image that many women still have of garages and used car showrooms. We just need a few more females in at the top, in UK Boardrooms to be specific, to make it even easier for talented others to follow in their footsteps in future.


Here’s a link to the programme in case you missed it http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0436qlw

Driving experience makes women better and safer drivers

FOXY Lady Guest Blog This is a Guest Blog on behalf of the AA.

A recent study by the Driving Standards Agency has shed new light on the difficulties facing learner drivers, and highlighted the differences between the sexes when it comes to making rookie mistakes. The figures from the study have once again stirred up the age-old question of which sex is better at driving.

One of the answers that this study gives is that, after they’ve passed their tests, women become increasingly better drivers and are 20 per cent safer than men.

On average, more young women pass the theory driving test than young men. Although women are most likely to fail their tests due to manoeuvring errors such as bad reverse parking, failing to steer correctly and poor gear changes, after they have passed the test and gain more driving experience, they build more confidence and master these skills.

Men were found to be failing for losing track of the speed they were going, or simply for going too fast. This is why male drivers tend to be less safe on the road than female drivers. Learning to drive safely and monitor their speed will help keep them safe further down the line – as well as lowering the cost of car insurance when the time comes!

Have A Good Breakfast Before Your Driving Test

breakfast2An important tip for those preparing to pass their driving test is to eat a good breakfast before. Drivers who had eaten performed 30 per cent better in a driving simulation than those who hadn’t.

So if you are going to take your driving test, remember to get a good start to you day with a proper breakfast, despite the nerves.

Lack of food leads to low blood sugar which can affect the ability to concentrate, as well as bring on physical symptoms such as trembling and blurred vision, so advice recommends even if you only manage to eat something like a banana, you’ll be doing yourselves a big favour.

Although some of these tips are common sense, keeping abreast of studies like the DSA’s could have real practical value. Knowing what aspects of driving are most problematic will surely help both driving instructors and learners.