We’ve all seen the driver on the road; swerving in and out of lanes, not using the turn signal, honking and/or gesturing wildly, maybe tailgating, and almost always speeding past you in the left lane, continuing to drive aggressively. Before you catch a glimpse of the driver, you have probably already decided, by the aggressive driving behavior, if the safe driver is a man or a woman and the truth may surprise you.
Of adult men and women, men are statistically more involved in accidents resulting in death than women (in 2008, 111,900 male drivers vs. 4,900 women drivers). It is perceived, due to their tendencies to drive faster, less cautiously, and more apt to receive tickets for traffic violations, men are more aggressive drivers than women, overall. Because women are statistically less aggressive, they often have the advantage of lower car insurance rates, as they pose less of a “risk” on the road.
Why So Aggressive?
There are many ideas as to why male drivers are more aggressive than women. In an article in the New York Times, social scientists and traffic safety experts agree that testosterone may have something to do with men taking risks while driving and having a more aggressive driving demeanor. Others will argue that it might all be based on stereotyping. If girls and women are told that they know less about cars, are less experienced, and not very good at driving, they may be more cautious and less confident in their driving (resulting in a safer, less aggressive driver).
Boys and men, on the other hand, who might be told that they are really good at driving and know a lot about cars, may end up having a false sense of confidence on the road, leading them to drive with abandonment, so to speak. Either way, regardless, neither men nor women should be told whether or not they are a safe or good safe driver based on their sex and gender. Safe driving requires common sense and experience.
Stop the Aggression Before it Starts
Parents, who want their children to be confident yet safe drivers, should lead by example. If children drive with an aggressive parent they may learn that it is an acceptable driving style. According to the National Safety Council, Aggressive driving behaviors can include “speeding, frequent and unnecessary lane changes, tailgating, and running red or yellow lights… creating unsafe situations that can lead to road rage.” So, how do drivers, men and women, keep their cool while driving on congested roadways? If you feel like you’re going to be aggressive, think before you act:
Keep your emotions in check. Had a bad day at the office? Don’t take that out on fellow motorists.
Hate rush hour and/or traffic?
Plan ahead and make extra time for any delays.
Focus on your own driving. Yes, traffic IS frustrating and annoying, but being that annoying, aggressive, frantic driver who honks his horn and yells at people won’t make the traffic move any faster.
- If you want to stay on the “good” side of a potentially dangerous and aggressive driver:
- Don’t tailgate or flash your lights at another safe driver. You probably don’t like it, right?
- Don’t hog the left lane. Make your pass and move back to the right.
Lay off of the horn. Only use it if you need it.
If you are being harassed by an aggressive safe driver or feel like you are being threatened on the road, don’t fight back. Continue to focus on the road, but call authorities as soon as you feel that your safety (or someone else’s) is in danger.
Aggressive driving is dangerous and is responsible for thousands of crash-related injuries and deaths each year. Your driving behavior should not be based upon whether you are a man or woman, but instead it should reflect a safe, smart and law abiding driver. Don’t be a “woman” or a “man” driver. Just be a driver, focused on the road!
Driving skills are a prerequisite for really proficient driving.
The skilled driver knows not only how her car is handling at the moment, but also how it will handle if an unexpected maneuver is required. Knowing your vehicle is critical. Does it over steer? Under steer? How does it handle curving roads at speed?
If you’re leaning hard and fast into a curve on the highway, how will your car react if you suddenly have to slow down or stop? Will it Throttle Steer you right into the center median? When will it break loose and skid because of instant over steer?
There are many situations your chosen buggy will have to react to. Knowing how it will react, will make you a much more skilled safe driver. The only way to learn how it will react is to gradually push it to greater limits – preferably on a lonely road without other traffic to interrupt your escapades.
Looking ahead as far as you can, will automatically center you in your lane. Learning how to “hit an apex” will make you a more skilled driver. Learning not to hit it on the highway because that safe driver on your side just may not hit it with. You, will make you a more skilled highway driver.
A great way to learn driving skills quickly is to read articles about driving. Read car reviews. They’re written by driving experts and those experts will talk about handling characteristics you need to know about.