Men in Ireland are more confident but more reckless behind the wheel than their female counterparts according to a new gender analysis report issued today by AA Motor Insurance. While males, particularly young male drivers, are broadly known to present a higher insurance risk, the AA’s report further breaks down driver behaviours to allow for a better insight into why this is the case.
According to the 2010 edition of the RSA Collision Fact book, the risk of dying in a traffic crash in Ireland if you’re male is about three times higher than for a female motorist.
The report findings also underpin the AA’s belief that the European Court of Justice’s Gender Equalization ruling, in effect across the EU since December 21st, is inherently unfair and fails to distinguish between equality and fairness. A recent AA review of 8 different insurance providers reveals that premiums for young female drives have been worst affected to date rising 24% on average.
In total twenty different indicators are featured in the AA’s report which explores the behaviours of both sexes when presented with a wide range of driving scenarios. The report also looks at general attitudes towards car care and maintenance, factors which also affect road safety.
“The Gender Equalization ruling has sparked plenty of debate, with many young male drivers feeling that they are finally being treated fairly.” Comments Conor Faughnan, Director of Consumer Affairs, AA Ireland. “The simple fact remains however that they are the group most likely to crash. We’ve been engaging with drivers for many years now gaining invaluable feedback on driving trends and patterns and this is the first time we’re consolidated this information into one single report, a report that paints a very telling picture in terms of gender and risk.”
Men streaks ahead in terms of confidence
The AA’s report signals a notable discrepancy between sexes when it comes to driver confidence. 22% of males compared to 19% of females polled for example were certain they would pass the driving test if they were to re-sit it in the morning. It is worth noting that males actually do have a higher success rate in the driving test in the first instance. In 2011 54% of males who undertook their test passed compared to 48% of females.
At 30%, almost twice as many men as women polled (17%) by AA Motor Insurance said they consider their driving skills to be ‘well above average’. Males also came out streaks ahead in terms of how comfortable they are at the prospect of driving during challenging weather conditions such as ice, fog and flood water.
Reckless behaviours more prevalent among males
The tables turn dramatically however when it comes to driver discipline according to the data collated in the AA’s Gender Analysis Report. Honing in on just a few of the report’s key findings; women were identified as more likely than men to refrain from drinking and driving entirely. 59% of the men compared to 71% of the women polled said this was true in their case. The report findings would also suggest that men are more likely to run the risk of driving the morning after the night before while unsure whether their blood alcohol levels had returned to within the legal permissible limit.
Discipline among males when it comes to motorway driving would also appear to be cause for major concern. The report identifies males as more likely to exceed the 120kph speed limit. They would also appear more likely by their own admission to have had a close call or crash on a motorway. Splitting this down further, males were more likely than females to have had a close shave on a motorway as a result of tailgating another vehicle, failing to signal their intent to change lanes, undertaking another vehicle and not having sufficient time to react to an unexpected hazard.
According to the report however men are not the worst culprits on every front. While virtually neck and neck in terms of making or receiving mobile calls while driving, a higher percentage of females (43%) than males (39%) admitted to the highly dangerous practice of texting while driving. Men also emerged as the more responsible sex when it comes to effectively combating driver fatigue. A slightly higher percentage of females (3%) than males (2%) polled shared they had crashed while driving on a roundabout.
Men do however fall down again when it comes to road rage. According to the report by AA Motor Insurance men are quicker to excessively beep the horn, yell out the window, deliberately tailgate and even get out and confront someone when they become irritated by the actions of other drivers.
Male drivers also emerged as more likely to become distracted by the external environment while driving such as bill boards, other vehicles and road users and road traffic accidents. 28% of males for example admitted they had had a near miss or a collision at some point during their driving career as a result of looking at an attractive female pedestrian or cyclist. Just 2% of females admitted the same as regards a good looking male pedestrian or cyclists.
Notes to the editor;
Please see accompanying PDF for full 31 page report ‘AA Gender Analysis of Ireland’s Drivers 2012.’
2. About the AA Gender Analysis Report: The AA Gender Analysis report is a compilation of poll data gather via AA Ireland online polls conducted through survey monkey between Q4 2008 and Q4 2012. Please note that sample sizes vary between polls however are all substantially robust to provide a nationally representative sample for both male and female drivers. A copy of the report is available upon request.
 For full press release entitled ‘Motor insurance premiums up 24% on average for 25 year old women’: http://blog.aaireland.ie/index.php/2012/12/12/uncategorized/motor-insurance-premiums-up-24-on-average-for-25-year-old-women
 Sourced from RSA Annual Report 2011: www.rsa.ie/Documents/About%20Us/RSA%20ANNUAL%20REPORT%202011.pdf