As seen on:

SMH Logo News Logo

Call 1300 303 181

Australia’s Best New Car News, Reviews and Buying Advice

Men and Women Drivers: Does The Gender Gap Actually Exist?

From time to time – but less often than we did in the past – you hear people making snarky comments about “women drivers”.  This has always puzzled me. Do women really drive differently from men? Is there are gender difference in the way that people treat their cars?

This is far from being scientific research, but I reckon that the answer is no, not really.  Sometimes, it seems as if everything I’ve read about gender differences in driving conflicts with what I’ve actually experienced or seen.

What I’ve read: Men are more aggressive and competitive when they drive.

What I’ve experienced: The majority of guys driving aren’t all that competitive or aggressive.  The majority of drivers aren’t aggressive and competitive. Yes, you get the odd berk who overtakes everything in sight just to get to the traffic lights two seconds in front of you, but as far as I can see, these people can be either gender.  I’ve even given in to the odd competitive urge myself… like that time that I was waiting at the lights and noticed that the car beside me was an orange HSV. I have a soft spot for Fords, and orange is my least favourite colour, so if the road hadn’t been so busy, I probably would have turned the green light into a chance for the great rivalry to continue between the blue oval and the lion.

What I’ve read: Women have more of an emotional attachment to their cars and treat them more like pets, while for a man, a car is a glorified power tool.

What I’ve also read: Men have more of an emotional attachment to their cars – “boys and their toys” – while women just want something that goes from A to B.

These two statements are mutually exclusive, so it’s probably best to say that some people have an emotional attachment to their cars while others do not.  It also depends on the car itself and memories associated with the car.

What I’ve read: Women get distracted more easily because they are more likely to text while driving and because they use the mirror to check their appearance and/or apply makeup.

What I’ve experienced: If you can see your face in the rear view mirror while you’re driving, it’s in the wrong position. I don’t think I’ve ever seen any of my woman friends applying any sort of cosmetic while driving and I certainly haven’t done it myself. Not even at the traffic lights when I know from experience that I’ve got at least a minute to wait.  Idiots who text and drive are just as likely to be male as female, judging by the ones I’ve had to dodge recently. And as for women being more distracted in general, well, those billboards featuring bikini babes we see all over the show aren’t going to be much of a distraction for a straight woman, are they?

What I’ve read (quite recently, in fact): Men are more likely to honk the horn at other drivers when ticked off, while women are more likely to swear or give the one-fingered salute.

What I’ve experienced: If you’re dodging some idiot who has decided that the give way laws don’t apply to them at the moment, then your main focus is going to be on avoiding a collision rather than using your hands to give someone the big finger or to find the horn (I always end up hitting one of the cruise control buttons by mistake). Applies to either gender.  You might give some exclamation along the lines of “Oh, crap!” to give a printable example.  Again, applies to both genders.  By the time you’re out of the situation, it’s too late for either the horn or the hand, as the twit who forced you to jam on the brakes has vanished, so muttering comments about him/her is the only option left.

What I’ve read: Men are more mechanically adept than women and are more likely to take care of their cars.

What I’ve experienced: This is probably more a matter of training than actual ability. Most of us considering buying a new car today grew up when the “girls can do anything” movement was just getting underway and girls just weren’t taught mechanical bits and pieces, same as guys weren’t taught how to sew on a button.  The reasons for this are obscure, as people from the World War 2 generation knew perfectly well that women could fix and make machinery.  It’s changing again, with more and more girls and women being taught the basics of car maintenance and DIY.

What I’ve read (and this would have to be the stupidest claim of all): Men invented cars in the first place, so they’re necessarily more interested in them, are better drivers, etc.

What I’ve also read: While Herr Benz invented the horseless carriage and the internal combustion engine, it was his wife (no, she wasn’t called Mercedes Benz – her name was Bertha) that actually took the invention out on the road to show the world how easy this invention was to drive. And she did her own repairs on the road, inventing brake linings on the way.

In my opinion, there aren’t gender differences when it comes to driving. Personality differences, yes.



  1. Insurance Hunter says:

    The ability of a driver needs to be assessed on a case by case basis. It depends on the type of training a driver has received, their level of experience, and where they drive. Your driving ability has nothing to do with whether you are a man or women.

    October 1st, 2013 at 12:25 am