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Battle Of The Sexes Rages On: Report Says Women Drive Better Than Men

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Sally Field and Burt Reynolds in Smokey and the Bandit

Sally Field and Burt Reynolds in Smokey and the Bandit

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A couple of weeks ago, we stumbled across a British report that said 20% of men are terrified to ride in a car when a woman is behind the wheel. Today, the tit-for-tat continues with a new study  -- also from the U.K. -- showing that those men are crazy: women are far more competent drivers than their XY-chromosomed counterparts. Well, at least during the summer months.

The new report comes from Sheila's Wheels, a British auto insurance agency that bears the tagline "Insurance designed with women in mind!" (exclamation mark included). According to the company-sponsored survey, 45% of men say that the summer heat affects their driving habits, with 21% prone to road rage and/or aggressive driving. Roughly 25% of the men surveyed said that they'd had a summertime crash or near-miss, while just 17% of women said the same.

But it's not the heat alone that turns normal guys into wild-eyed road warriors: it's also due to a spike in libido. Cole Porter may have thought summer was too darn hot for hanky-panky, but according to the Sheila's Wheels survey, 29% of male drivers admit to being distracted by the skimpier outfits women wear in warmer months. And the number of women who said they're distracted by men's summer attire? A dismal 3%. (Yet another reason to ditch the cargo shorts.)

According to behavioral psychologist Donna Dawson, the gents' hormones are to blame: "Testosterone also plays a part as it makes men more prone to aggression, especially when frustrated by a confined space such as a car -- and men are quicker than women to expose such irritability in hot weather." All told, Sheila's Wheels says this helps explain why men make 16.4% more insurance claims during the summer months.

Sadly, we're not given unfettered access to the survey data -- which would be nice, because the bits that Sheila's Wheels has shared raise a lot of intriguing questions. For example: how many women say they're affected by the heat? How many drive more aggressively? And most importantly, how do these figures change when there's a nip in the air?

At first glance, this new survey might seem slightly more scientific than the previous one, which was carried out by OnePoll.com -- sort of a social network for people who like taking polls. But Sheila's Wheels used a firm called Opinium Research, which is...well, another place for folks who enjoy being polled. (Must be a British thing.) Neither sounds like it cuts the mustard in scientific terms.

Vive la difference. Let's call it a tie.

[Sheila's Wheels, Telegraph, via Vik]

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Comments (2)
  1. I have to disagree with the study/article. In my area, I get into more encounters with women on the road than men. Women are on my rear bumper even when I am well above the speed limit. They cut me off repeatedly. They refuse to let me enter a lane/intersection/traffic, as I have no other car behind me and they have a whole row of cars behind them. And they seem to do all of this with an attitude problem. I found that men, on the other hand, are more generous and patient on the road than women. I am not being negative or sexist, but these are my personal experiences.
     
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  2. Maybe women are more aggressive in the UK but in the US the only reason they could be worse drivers is because they are so cautious. Men on the other hand drive like they own the road and have no qualms about blantantly checking out other drivers and nearly causing accidents.
     
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