Tag Archives: Driving Standards Agency

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.

Why do more men pass the driving test first time?

The age old stereotype that men are better drivers than women is one we’ve been trying to quash for years, but there’s no denying the driving test statistics are against us. Whether it’s sheer competitive drive, testosterone or purely luck, boys are more likely to pass their driving test first time than girls.

In this article from miDrive.com we take a look at why this might be and whether or not passing the test first time really means that you’re a better driver.

The facts

Last year’s statistics from the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) show pass rates to be higher for men than women at almost every test centre in England, Scotland and Wales. Whilst the 2012 national pass rate for males, through April to September, was 50.8%, the national pass rate for females during the same time period was 44.2%.

Even more tellingly, 50.8% of males taking their test, in the UK between 2011-2012 passed their driving test first time, whilst only 44.3% females achieved the same feat.


We all know that nerves make us do silly things, and the driving test is no exception. Whether it’s testosterone, adrenaline, or an indestructible competitive streak, nerves – generally speaking – appear to affect women more than men. When nerves come into the equation, it’s very easy to allow them to take over, and that’s when mistakes can happen.

Unfortunately, pressure is an intrinsic part of the driving test. There’s no avoiding it, and coping with it can be a challenge. Finding the right balance of determination and a cool-head is something which both sexes struggle with on the driving test, but research tells us that men deal with pressure with a show of strength; facing up to challenges. Women, on the other hand, are more methodical.

Who takes more lessons?

Statistics show that men take fewer driving lessons than women, but this doesn’t necessarily make them better drivers. We all learn in our own time, and depending on how anxious a learner is when they get behind the wheel, they might have more personal hurdles to overcome.

The amount of lessons a learner driver takes also depends upon their personal circumstances. Whilst a 17 year old might have school or college to fit lessons around, a parent might struggle to fit them in around childcare arrangements. The bigger the gaps between each driving lesson, the longer you will take to pass, regardless of your on-road ability.

So, who are the better drivers?

There’s always going to be cases for both sides, but statistics point to females as safer motorists. As we all know, up until recently, young men were paying more for their insurance because of these figures, despite them being more likely to pass their test first time.

Interestingly, statistics also show that women are more likely to pass their theory test, with 63.74% of females passing in 2011/12, compared to a pass rate of 58.09% for males in the same time period. This not only shows that females’ mental attitudes to driving and knowledge of the Highway Code edges out the men’s, but it also demonstrates that they work well under a different kind of pressure. Although the practical test is hands on, the theory test tests foresight and mental processes.

It’s impossible to single out every driver’s on-road ability based on their gender, but it’s also important to note that whether a driver passed their test first time or not isn’t a good way to gauge it either. Whether men are better drivers than women is a debate which is sure to rumble on for years to come, but we hope we’ve dispelled some driving test gender myths here!

Guest blog

This guest post was written and researched by Isabelle Guarella.

Isabelle is a writer for miDrive.com; a site which helps learner drivers to find and compare local driving instructors.

Free car checks for women drivers

According to the Driving Standards Agency one in eight learner drivers, including female motorists, don’t know how to (or want to perhaps) carry out basic maintenance on their cars.

Comma Oils have picked up on this, to recommend that drivers, male and female, should pay more attention to simple vehicle checks such as inspecting oil levels.

I agree and know from my experience within FOXY Lady Driver Club just how expensive this engine neglect can be.

But my main concern, as always, is to do with the fact that many learner drivers cannot afford new or nearly new cars and, without appreciating the safety imperative, may choose to scrimp and save on maintenance including checking their tyres and getting their car serviced regularly, not realising that their car might be dangerous as a result.

And too few motorists, men and women drivers alike, check before buying a used car to see if it has been regularly maintained and serviced. They are more inclined to judge the car by its looks and price; often oblivious to the fact that a neglected car will let them down soon and expensively – it’s just a question of time.

More worryingly vehicle safety is rarely addressed by those who buy new cars either – many  drivers (not just women) treat their new car much as they do a household appliance. Enjoy it when it’s new and under warranty then sell it and get a new one. In the case of the car (and pre-recession of course…)  this used to be just before it comes of MOT age!

No wonder many cars fail their first MOT after such treatment.

All this (but the safety reason mainly), is why FOXY membership includes free car fitness checks so that busy women who appreciate all this but prefer to get the professionals to do this for them, can pop along to their nearest FOXY listed, female friendly garage to get this done for them.

And because they have signed the FOXY Promise, they can be trusted to look after the female motorist and not overcharge them.

Job done, car safe, engine taken care of, value preserved… sounds the foxy formula to me!


Refresher driving courses for women

Last night I attended a local NWR (National Womens Register) meeting. The topic was ‘The Perfect Weekend’ and this encouraged fantasy destinations, fancied partners and much female frivolity.

I can’t remember how but at one stage the conversation veered from Tom Hanks (on a romantic Isle of Scilly no less) to the fantastic freedom that our cars give us, especially when going out on our own at nights and to get to evening get togethers like this one.

No it wasn’t a topic introduced by me as few know what I do but yes I was interested to hear what was said…

One of the ladies explained that her partner now did all the driving because she had lost her nerve recently, completely out of the blue. She had moved house and area and simply couldn’t cope with driving on unfamiliar roads… even though this is a rural area and the roads aren’t exactly overcrowded. She wasn’t sure what to do about this.

Another woman suggested, in fairly blunt terms, that she shouldn’t delay, she had to get on with it and overcome her fears otherwise she could be stranded in the middle of nowhere (we’re talking about a mid-Sussex village here with poor rural bus connections). She explained that this had happened to her sister who lived in Scotland; she was effectively stranded after her husband had died unexpectedly after doing all the driving for years.

Of course I made a few constructive suggestions, like taking a refresher driving course with a local instructor, investigating the IAM’s Skills for Life package or starting off with a few local journeys early in the morning, with a girl friend perhaps and when traffic would be light. I also mentioned the Driving Standards Agency’s Arrive Alive Classic presentation, knowing that this is designed for groups of drivers over 50 years old. I have often thought about organising one for ladies in this area.

But I don’t think that these are exactly what were required on this occasion and I wonder if there might be more that could be done to make women more confident drivers (this is a critical gender difference) recognising some significant female life-style factors.

For example, more women than ever live alone and get divorced. There are and will continue to be more elderly women drivers as today’s baby boomers age and replace older women drivers who were less likely to drive then. Chances are we will continue to live and want to drive for longer and women will outlive their male partners. We are often distracted by children, we do much of the local caring work and, when we are older, we are known for having minor accidents, often in car parks. I think this is all to do with a lack of concentration and perhaps this is caused by having our mind on too many things at once.

So how about some refresher driving courses for women drivers who feel the need? Rather than a 1:1 driving instruction which is a little intimidating for most women, perhaps an innovative, low cost, confidence building and fun way for females to refresh their motoring knowledge, become better drivers (where possible ahem) and maintain their freedom to carry out their community caring roles as safely as possible.

Perhaps an insurance company would sponsor FOXY Lady Drivers Club to organise these across the country? We could add in our road safety information and car maintenance advice for women when it comes to running safer, greener and more reliable cars.

And maybe we’d be able to enjoy the equivalent of PassPlus insurance discounts, gifted by participating insurance providers. Just a thought.