Car crash causes: Do male and female drivers cause the same accidents?

While the question of whether men or women are the better drivers is one that continues to be asked, we decided to take a look at it from another angle.

Using statistics direct from the Department for Transport, we analysed every recorded road traffic accident that happened in the UK in 2015 and separated the data between car crashes involving men and those involving women.

The data allowed us to look at statistics concerning the age of the driver at the time of the accident, the type of vehicle they were driving, the age of the vehicle, the purpose of their journey when the crash happened, the location of the accident, what manoeuvre (if any) the driver was attempting, and what object (if any) they hit.

By separating these data points by the sex of the driver, we were able to identify the key differences between car crashes involving men and those involving women.

To see the data in full, see our study here: Car accident causes – the differences between male and female drivers

Below we have listed some of the key findings from our analysis…

Men are involved in a lot more road traffic accidents than women

This is not necessarily because men are more unsafe drivers though. Despite the fact that the number of women drivers on the road is rising, there are still more men drivers than women. Furthermore, recent statistics show that men make a lot more journey’s than women – so it stands to reason that they would be involved in more road traffic accidents.

Out of a total of 241,344 recorded road traffic accidents in 2015, men were involved in 169,288 and women were involved in 72,056 – which is almost exactly a 70/30 split.

male driver
Male drivers are involved in 70% of all road traffic accidents

More young males are involved in accidents

When looking at the age of drivers when they have a crash, one thing jumps out – a lot more males under the legal age limit of 17 are involved in crashes than their female counterparts.

Of all the accidents men were involved in in 2015, 0.9% of them involved drivers aged between 11 and 15. For women, that number is just 0.2%. The percentages may be small, but that translates to a lot of accidents being caused by teenage boys – 0.9% of the total 169,288 means they account for over 1,500 car accidents a year, or four every day.

Women are overwhelmingly most likely to be driving a car

As well as identifying patterns involving the causes of car accidents, the data also provides a habit into general driving habits of the different sexes – particularly what vehicles they drive.

Looking at the raw numbers, it would appear that women drivers are more likely to have accidents in cars. Over 90% of all accidents involving women were when they were driving a car, compared with just 62% for male drivers.

The numbers though, seemed to be skewed somewhat by the fact that very few women use other forms of transport to get about. Just 2% of women’s road accidents involved them riding a motorcycle, compared with 11.1% of men’s accidents – suggesting either that women are much better riders of motorbikes, or that there is relatively very few of them.

The same goes for buses and coaches (2.8% for men compared with 0.5% for women), vans (7.2% for men / 0.8% for women) and lorries (3.5% for men / 1.1% for women).

Interestingly, the same proportion of men’s and women’s crashes involve a mobility scooter – o.1% for both.

Men are more likely to have an accident when driving as part of their job

62.2% of all the accidents involving men are when they are driving as part of their job. In contrast, the most common time for women to have a car accident is when they are commuting to and from work (53.5%).

Again, this seems to point more towards the different driving habits between men and women – with driving being a key part of many men’s occupations, whereas women mostly drive to get to and from work.

Another interesting finding from looking at the purpose of the journey shows that women are much more likely to do the school run than men – 10% of crashes women had in 2015 happened while taking the kids to and from school, compared with just 1.1% for men.

woman driving car
Women are more likely to crash while commuting to/from work

Men are more likely to crash while overtaking

Perhaps giving some credence to the suggestion that men can often be the more ‘aggressive’ drivers, the data shows that a higher proportion of the accidents involving male drivers happen whilst overtaking. 8.6% of all accidents involving men happen when they are overtaking, compared with 3.6% for women.

To see the data in full, see our study here: Car accident causes – the differences between male and female drivers