Commercial insurance article archive
Are women safer drivers than men?
Before asking why women drivers are safer than men, it's only fair to ask if they actually are safer. Insurers certainly seem to think they are: "women only" insurance companies are becoming commonplace, with insurers saying they'd rather insure women because they're less likely to make a claim.
They've even been able to prove it. Back in 2001, when Admiral Insurance Services received complaints about an advert with the tagline "Diamond only do car insurers for women because women are better drivers", they managed to prove their statement was correct – to the satisfaction of the Advertising Standards Agency. The company provided evidence to suggest that women have fewer accidents, claim for smaller amounts when they do have accidents, and are less likely to be involved in fatal accidents than men are. According to researchers at Brunel University, women are also more likely to comply with the rules of the road, and to remain within the speed limit.
So, having established that women do indeed seem to be safer on the roads than men, it's time to think about why.
According to Claire Corbett, author of the Brunel research paper, the reasons for women's "safer driver" status may be both cultural and biological. Women, for instance, are more likely to be driving with children in the car, and this may make them more likely to drive cautiously. Because of their roles as childrearers, women are more likely to be at home during the day, and therefore less likely to be on the road during the most dangerous times – morning and evening rush hours, when most accidents happen. It also means that they're likely to drive fewer miles, giving them less of an opportunity to be involved in an accident.
As for the smaller claims women make when they are involved in accidents, this could also be explained by the fact that women tend to buy smaller, less expensive cars than their male counterparts. These vehicles cost less to repair than more expensive models, and therefore lead to lower claims and cheaper insurance.
The biological factors that make women statistically safer on the roads, however, may run deeper than the fact that they're more likely to be mothers, with children to look after and less of a need to drive. According to scientists at Bradford University, the female hormone, oestrogen, may also make it easier for women to learn new rules, to concentrate, and to shift attention from one thing to another. Women may still be the butt of jokes about parallel parking, but the evidence seems to suggest that their motor skills could be better than men’s. Could the old argument that women are better at multitasking actually be true? And if so, could this be another reason why women tend to be safer driver?
Whatever the reasons for women having fewer accidents than men, however, the fact remains that as far as insurers are concerned, women remain a safer bet. That's why they continue to enjoy lower insurance premiums, and why insurers such as Computerquoteinsurance.com are willing to offer their female customers cheaper car insurance policies.
23 Mar 2007