Are women really bad drivers?

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

Jokes about women's driving

I am pretty sure you have came across at least one joke that makes fun of the way women drive. It's not uncommon on the internet to find a circulating image with a strange accident that was caused by a woman.

So does this really mean that women are bad drivers?
First of all many studies have shown that men are more likely to make accidents and violate traffic rules. This sounds very logical given the fact that testosterone , the male hormone, fuels risk taking behaviour. See also Why are some people so competitive

Yes some women drive fast but the majority are cautious drivers. So if that's the case then why do men claim that women are bad drivers?

In my previous article Why some men like to tell jokes about women i said that jokes are an indirect method that people use to release their frustration. If a person dislikes a certain political party for example then most probably he will make jokes about that party as this will provide him with a relief.

So does this mean that men who say that women can't drive hate women?
No but it just means that those men are frustrated by women to a certain extent.

Why men are annoyed

One explanation for that stereotype could be that men are annoyed by women drivers who drive slow, who seem very cautious and who panic when something wrong happens. Now as those men get more and frustrated they find a relief in such jokes and so they might start sharing jokes about women's driving skills. See What your driving style says about you

But that's not everything. A man who is frustrated by women for any other reason could take the advantage of the situation by using such jokes to make fun of women. In other words if a man was annoyed by a certain women in something that has nothing to do with driving then he can still feel better after sharing that joke about women driving skills. See also Why some men like to put women down.

But is it all about frustration or are there other factors?
The desire to feel superior to women can be another motivating force that has nothing to do with frustration. A man who wants to feel superior to women might share jokes about all women just to feel better about himself.

If a man wants to feel strong and masculine then he might actually claim that women are bad drivers just to elevate his self worth.

Men are better at seeing moving objects

In one study it was shown that men are better at detecting moving objects especially at high speeds. This might mean that men have a better ability to detect the motion of cars and pedestrians on the road.

But still this doesn't guarantee that a man will always be a better driver than a woman. Insurance rates for women are actually lower than for men and this shows that large firms believe somehow that men are more likely to make accidents.

Women fulfilling the prophecy

In my previous article the effects of stereotyping i explained how a person can end up fulfilling the prophecy that was set for him without noticing. Many women might actually believe that they are bad drivers as a result of this stereotype and as a result they might end up with less motivation to learn proper driving.

The result would be making the stereotype even more popular because of the real life proofs that would be available. This also happens with blondes. In a previous article called Are blondes really dumb i explained how many blondes focus less on excelling at math as a result of stereotyping then end up being bad at math as a result.

Focusing on the mistakes

In the Solid Self confidence program i said that once a person believes in something he will focus on all the evidence that could prove it right while ignoring all other evidence.

In other words if men believed that women can't drive then as soon as a woman makes a bizarre accident this accident will get much attention. This is one reason why you see jokes about women making weird accidents and you hardly see ones about men.

And even when a joke about a man doing such an accident is circulated the minds of those who have the stereotype will consider it an irrelevant piece of information and it won't get stored in their long term memory.

It's all because the brain of some humans chose to selectively focus on some events while ignoring others.

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