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Two men recently tried to validate what all men have long held to be true -- women are inferior drivers. According to their study published in Traffic Injury Prevention Journal, they’re right. Congrats, guys.
The researchers, Michael Sivak and Brandon Shoettle of the University of Michigan’s Transportaion Research Institute, studied the role of gender in six crash scenarios, like t-bones and head-on collisions, of 6.5 million two-vehicle accidents that occurred in the United States between 1988 and 2007.
Since men drive 60 percent of the total miles driven in a year, Sivak and Shoettle were surprised to find out how often woman-to-woman accidents occurred. Overachievers that we are, we exceeded their predictions in 5 of their 6 scenarios -- by over 50 percent in sideswipes.
While these researchers hesitate to say exactly how being a women ups the probability of being in a car accident, some suggest it’s simple mathematics: lady + car = Crash! Boom! Bang!
Though Sivak and Shoettle never say people are bad drivers because they are women, they do insist that the is a complex combination of gender issues at play. For one, women are shorter. Cars are bigger. It’s just harder for us little ladies to get a good view out of our super tall car windows. For another, people predict the actions of other drivers (often based on gender) differently.
Some extrapolate that a weird form of subconscious vindictiveness might also be a factor. Could women actually be targeting other women? Seems unlikely that anybody would be willing to risk life and limb for a real-life version of Mario Kart, right?
Regardless, even Sivak and Shoettle admit that there are a lot of variables -- some they cover, some the glaze over, others they miss completely (were there children in these women’s cars? We all know they can be distracting sometimes. What percentage of the reports involved texting? Thanks to Oprah and a horrifyingly graphic European television ad making the rounds on the internet, can anyone argue how dangerous that combo is?)
You can make out of this study what you will, but to us, there’s not really enough here to do anything but excuse stereotyping.