Women drivers involved more than men in certain kinds of crashes

Jun 10, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- While men and women often disagree about which gender has better driving skills, a new study by the University of Michigan may shed some light on the debate.

Using data from a nationally of police-reported from 1988 to 2007, Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle of the U-M Transportation Research Institute studied the gender effects in six different crash scenarios (based on crash angles, direction of approach and speed). These two-vehicle crash scenarios included various in which one vehicle turned in front of the other, one vehicle side-swiped the other or both vehicles collided head-on.

"The likelihood that a given driver will be involved in a two-vehicle crash depends on a variety of driver, vehicular and ," said Sivak, research professor at UMTRI. "There are three dominant driver-related factors, including the probability of being at the wrong place at the wrong time, one's own driving skills and the driving skills of the other driver involved."

Sivak and Schoettle compared the actual frequencies of different combinations of involved male and female drivers in the six crash scenarios with the expected frequencies if there were no . The expected frequencies were based on annual distance driven for personal travel by male and female drivers.

Because men drive about 60 percent of those annual miles and women drive 40 percent, men are expected to be involved in a higher percentage of crashes for each scenario, and driving skills being equal.

But the researchers found that crashes involving two female drivers were overrepresented in five of the six crash scenarios, including two by at least 50 percent more and two others by more than 25 percent greater than what was expected.

On the other hand, crashes involving two male drivers were underrepresented in four of the six scenarios, including two by more than 20 percent and another by just less than 20 percent. In crash scenarios involving both male and female drivers, actual frequencies tended to be close to the expected frequencies.

"The results indicate that in certain crash scenarios, male-to-male crashes tend to be underrepresented and female-to-female crashes tend to be overrepresented," Sivak said. "This pattern of results could be due to either differential gender exposure to the different scenarios, differential gender capabilities to handle specific scenarios or differential expectations of actions by other drivers based on their gender.

"In all, success in handling on-road conflicts depends not only on psychomotor ability but also on the outcome of complex social interactions between traffic participants. In turn, these interactions are influenced by expectations based on prior experience—and a set of common stereotypical expectations that drivers have concerning the behavior of male and female drivers."

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User comments : 6

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dogbert
1 / 5 (1) Jun 10, 2011
"In all, success in handling on-road conflicts depends not only on psychomotor ability but also on the outcome of complex social interactions between traffic participants. In turn, these interactions are influenced by expectations based on prior experienceand a set of common stereotypical expectations that drivers have concerning the behavior of male and female drivers."


The research was interesting, but the conclusion seems off the wall. During a traffic incident, who has the time or excess attention to consider the gender of the other driver? And why would you react differently based on gender perceptions when there are no known gender specific driver differences?
Bonkers
3 / 5 (2) Jun 10, 2011
well clearly "during" is too late to do anything. The whole report is written in code since it seems to support popular prejudice, or what we'd now call statistical fact. The conclusion fudges the issue totally, effectively saying women have more accidents because other road users expect them to. What's wrong with admitting that the data suggests that in the general case women are less good at estimating "what will happen next" in dynamic conditions. They're better at loads of other stuff - its not like they're generally inferior. This is science's appalling propensity for self-censorship. The other monster taboo is the couple of points in IQ between blacks and whites, hell there's another couple between whites and asians, but its all "swings and roundabouts" - you win some lose some. We can't go complaining to God or anything, it is what it is, we're equal but different.
extremity
not rated yet Jun 10, 2011
There are far too many large quoted pieces of this article interjected with subjective information to really say anything about the conclusion he's drawn. Over 1/3 of this article is large quotes. But I cannot find the abstract or title referenced anywhere, even on Dr. Sivak's page, only this article by an unknown author @ UM. I'd really like to read the whole abstract and see if he's being misquoted or if this is actually all the overall data from his paper.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (2) Jun 10, 2011
How many women have been observed farding in the car?
Doug_Huffman
3 / 5 (2) Jun 10, 2011
extremity
not rated yet Jun 13, 2011
@Doug_Huffman Thank you very much!

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