A survey carried out by price comparison website Gocompare.com has revealed that thousands of young women are putting themselves at risk by accepting lifts with strangers or with drivers who’ve either had an alcoholic drink or used recreational drugs.
Around one in 17 women (6%) aged between 17 and 25 who are non-drivers have on at least one occasion accepted a lift home with a virtual stranger.
More than one in seven (13%) have been a passenger in a car driven by someone who’d had an alcoholic drink or taken recreational drugs.
However, nearly one in five young women who don’t drive (18%) has also experienced violence, aggression or harassment directed at them or another passenger whilst using public transport.
Over a third (36%) of young women non-drivers responding to the survey said that driving and car ownership was too expensive and 38% said they could not afford driving lessons. A quarter (26%) said that they felt they had less freedom than their friends with cars.
Gocompare.com’s customer insight manager, Claire Peate, said: “There’s no doubt that learning to drive and getting your first car can be an expensive business, but it seems that some young women are taking risks with their own safety because they can’t get around as easily as their friends. Parents will be alarmed to learn that thousands of young women and teenagers are accepting lifts from people they hardly know, and are also being driven around by people who are possibly under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
“For many the alternative is to use public transport, but there again our research shows that young women have experienced aggression or harassment directed towards them or another passenger whilst using buses and trains.
“Young women, and indeed anyone, on a night out should follow some basic rules for staying safe. If you’re with a group of friends, stay together as much as possible until you’re home. Do not accept lifts from strangers and if you are offered the chance of a lift home by a friend make sure they’re in a fit state to be driving. Keep some money aside for an emergency taxi home and never be too proud to ring a parent or friend and ask them to pick you up. They’re sure to be much happier you called on them than for you to take a risk with a lift from a stranger or a drunk driver.”
From FOXY’s point of view the exorbitant cost of car insurance has a lot to do with this, thanks mainly to the 2012 Gender (Mis)Directive.
The consequences of the high cost of motoring
Knowing that the number of young male drivers has fallen as a result of soaring insurance rates this is now our turn to be affected, regardless of statistical risk and gender safety concerns. Young females who can’t afford to drive are damned to potential harassment or worse when using public transport and occasionally taxis, are damned to isolation if they live in rural areas and damned if they then rely on richer friends to drive them home, who might take risks.
What is a young girl to do to have a social life? How is she to keep her job options open if she can’t afford to drive to move on in her career?
The insurance industry needs to think this one through again because cherry-picking rich young drivers isn’t the right way forward nor is it any guarantee of safer drivers or lesser risk. Quite the contrary it seems.