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.
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!
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.