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Female Driving Experience: Statistics

Five statistics on female drivers and how they compare to male drivers include female drivers causing 4.4 million car collisions compared to 6.1 million for men. There is also a 12% likelihood of a woman falling asleep while driving, compared to 22% of men. More women drivers, around 11%, are distracted with risky activities like grooming compared to 4.7% of men, and crashes involving female drivers are less severe and was 53% higher for male drivers. Detailed information is in the next section.

FEMALE DRIVERS CAUSE FEWER CAR CRASHES

  • According to the National Highway Safety Administration in the US, women cause 4.4 million car crashes per year compared to men’s 6.1 million collisions. As a result, insurance companies tend to charge men, especially those under 25, higher for car insurance. In fact, according to a study by CBS News, a man is likely to pay $15,000 more for his car insurance than a woman in his lifetime.
  • Also, men under 25, who are more likely to drive aggressively and under the influence of alcohol and drugs, make the largest percentage of accidents caused by men. Research by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) found that 71% of all car crash deaths in 2017 were males. “Although the gap has reduced, nearly every year from 1975 to 2017, the number of female crash deaths was less than half that of male crash deaths.”

FEWER FEMALE DRIVERS FALL ASLEEP WHILE DRIVING

  • The National Sleep Foundation states that there is a 12% likelihood of a woman falling asleep while driving, compared to 22% of men who are more likely to fall asleep behind the wheel of their vehicles. This could be one of the reasons why fewer women aged 16 to 29 have fatal crashes than men in the same age group. Studies have put these differences down to men driving longer distances than women, and engaging in risky practices, such as drinking alcohol and driving.
  • Fatigue is often quoted as one cause of vehicle crashes. According to a survey from Finder.com, fewer women, around 17%, said that they drive while fatigued compared to a higher number of men, around 19%.

FEMALE DRIVERS ARE LESS CONFIDENT THAN MALE DRIVERS

  • A University of California – Los Angeles (UCLA) study found that women are less confident when driving compared to men.
  • The study also explored the relationship between new drivers and different variables, such as gender, and found that female student drivers were less confident drivers than men. However, the study revealed that both genders got the same score from their driving instructors.
  • Although women are less confident than men when driving, “they are more likely to concentrate on their driving than men, with 42.8% of women drivers saying they don’t get distracted behind the wheel, compared to 38.4% of men”.
FEMALE DRIVING EXPERIENCE

FEMALE DRIVERS ARE DISTRACTED WITH GROOMING

  • A survey by Finder found that around one in ten drivers admitted to fixing their appearance while diving. However, more women, around 11%, said that they were distracted with other risky activities like grooming compared to 4.7% of men. The report found that 138 million American adults admitted to driving while distracted.

CAR COLLISIONS INVOLVING FEMALE DRIVERS ARE LESS SEVERE

  • According to IIHS, crashes involving female drivers are less severe than those involving male drivers. This can be attributed to male drivers often engaging in risky driving behavior such as driving while under the influence of alcohol, not using safety belts, and speeding. However, the same report states that female drivers are more likely to be injured or killed in vehicle collisions of equal severity, as compared to men, even though gender differences in fatality risk reduce with age.
  • For example, “the number of driver fatal crash involvements per 100 million miles driven in 2017 was 53% higher for males (2.3 per 100 million miles traveled) than for females (1.5 per 100 million miles traveled).”

Female Driving Experience: Insights

Some insights into how and why the car marketing sector seems to target men include TV ads being often catered to men, the entire industry still catering mostly to men, men and women having different approaches to buying cars, and men seeing cars differently than women. Additional insights into ways they can market cars to women include focusing on functionality rather than stereotypical features as well as targeting millennial women.

FEMALE DRIVING EXPERIENCE

HOW THE CAR MARKETING SECTOR SEEMS TO TARGET MEN

TV ads are often catered to men

  • Many actors who appear in car advertisements are men; examples include Matthew McConaughey, John Hamm, LeBron James, Charlie Sheen, Will Farrell and several others.
  • Even though there is a lack of data surrounding the percentage of TV ads that target men, men are often seen driving the promoted car.
  • A simple YouTube search of “car ads” or “car commercials” can show how (mostly) men are driving the cars.

The industry is still catering mostly to men

  • The industry has not fully recognized the buying power of women since it has been run mainly by men.
  • Mary Barra is still the only woman who is head of an important automaker.
  • It will be a major shift to start catering women, as the industry has ignored them in the past.
  • For example, the industry only started including female crash test dummies in 2011.

WHY THE CAR MARKETING SECTOR SEEMS TO TARGET MEN

Men and women have different approaches to buying cars

  • Most women are undecided when buying a car.
  • Women prefer “utility over looks”, opting for Asian non-luxury brands, such as Kia or a Honda.
  • Men, most often, know exactly what they want in a car and care far more about what image the purchase might give them.
  • Men like European luxury brands such as Ferrari or a Porsche.

Men see cars differently than women

  • Men “admire” cars and “love” to drive them. (Source 4)
  • Driving makes men feel “more in control over their own destinies”.
  • Men can grow an emotional attachment to their cars, as they perceive them as “an extension of the self“.
  • Cars can provide power, freedom, and sense of adventure to most men, as cars can very easily be part of a life-changing moment.
  • Many men see their cars as beings with feeling and unique personalities with needs.

WAYS THE CAR MARKETING SECTOR CAN MARKET TO WOMEN

Focus on functionality rather than stereotypical features

  • Automakers are still figuring out how to appeal to female audiences without “pigeonholing one gender into a certain category”.
  • Automakers are still relying on “stereotypical ‘female’ interests”.
  • Since the mid-1950’s women are looking for “reliability and functionality”.

Target millennial women

  • Millennial women “feel as self-assured” as men when buying a car.
  • Millennial men trust their female counterparts with car-buying decisions.
  • Millennial men believe women are stronger negotiators and are more logical when buying cars.
TDM

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