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What Does Gender Have to Do with the Skills of a Driver?

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Stereotypes exist because of patterns are seen in society. In Nigeria or even Africa as a whole, there is a belief that men are better drivers than women. Every time you see a car driving too slowly or “ inappropriately” and there is a sort of disorder or hold up on the road as a result , you hear passersby make such comments as “ It’s a woman, that’s why” , “Why do women even bother with driving” or “who gave this woman a car, please?”. You could blame it on the patriarchal society we live in, but some women are also guilty of this type of stereotyping.

In fact, if you had a Naira for every time someone said such comments against women driving, chances are you’d be a millionaire by now. Not to start some war of the sexes here, but when you actually consider these coarse anti-female-driving comments, certain questions come to mind: Where on earth did this stereotype come from? Is there even any basis for people, especially men, poking at these female drivers at all? Is there a valid reason or proven fact to support the notion?

Think about it, both the male and female beings are bipedal and dual-armed, also their eyes are located in the same location in their skulls. Sure, the male brain is slightly bigger (to accommodate all the [unnecessary] information that feed their obsession with sex and sports) but the organ works exactly the same way for both parties. So, how is it possible that men are better drivers than women then? What enables this advantage? Their high testosterone level maybe? If anything men having higher testosterone, often labeled ‘the aggression hormone’, suggests likelihood of them being more competitive and aggressive, therefore having the tendency to drive at faster speeds and to display more risky driving behaviour including driving under the influence, not wearing seat-belts, e.t.c…which would then make then worse drivers than women.

I guess to resolve the issue, you have to first figure out what makes a “better” driver. Is it how safely one drives, how technically skilled at driving they are or their performance behind the wheel of a car? Certainly, “better” is a subjective term…but, in the context of insurance, it has been used to mean drivers those who are less risky. Basically, you drive safe, you get cheaper insurance …and women have been given the award for better driving. Insurance prices tend to be cheaper for women than they are for men.

Women, in general, drive slower and farther behind the car in front, and so are less likely to get into a car accident or commit moving violations like speeding and driving under the influence (DUI). You hardly find them driving as many miles as the average male driver. But then, they still make a lot of mistakes behind the wheel. Common incidents among women drivers involve crashed wheels, broken bumpers, crunched tail lights, or swiped side view mirrors. They are also the main culprit when it comes to being distracted when driving. They are more likely to use phones while driving than men are; same applies to snacking behind the wheel. Also, men do not apply make-up while driving.

Clearly, gender has very little to do with it how well one drives or who is a better driver, so it is rather challenging to determine whether men are truly innately better drivers than women. Saying men are better at driving would be sexist, so also saying women are better at driving. Basically, when it comes to the battle of the sexes and “better” driving habits, no one wins. And bottom line: men and women equally need to do their best to drive safely to protect all of us on these blessed Nigerian roads.

Photo Credit: © Monkey Business Images | Dreamstime

3 Comments

  1. Komon-Sense School of Motoring

    November 4, 2017 at 10:20 pm

    Agreed! There is no better gender. Women drivers, especially in Nigeria, tend to be most often than not, oppressed by the males. They therefore tend not to take risks and when they do, it doesn’t exactly go as planned, giving life to the stereotype that men are the better drivers.

    With 2020 around the corner, and autonomous vehicles making a break-through, one would only expect an influx of human-operated vehicles into the country; and a dilution of manual transmission, would even out the playing field.

    There is a serious need for the reform of the FRSC, and implementation of mandatory driving tests. We’ve planned our lessons to give the learners a comprehensive understanding of how Nigerian roads should theoretically function, and prepare them for how they actually are. We encourage our female students to be more proactive about driving as a way of boosting their driving confidence and reducing the likely hood of feeling intimidated.

  2. Zeeeebby

    November 6, 2017 at 11:13 am

    A good driver is the one who always gets to his/her destination without incident or accident. That said, I believe women are better drivers coz they make better split second decisions; you rarely find female drivers in ghastly accidents or incidents….My opinion

  3. Engoz

    November 6, 2017 at 4:49 pm

    Lol, honestly No Nigerian in Nigeria have the right to boast about having better driving skills. It’s like letting out all the zoo animals from their cages and asking them to drive.

    Nigerian men are just jealous of women who drive. Plain ole chauvinism and bad belle lol. You have killed Nigerian man’s self esteem if you’re a young girl with a car, lmao. So lashing out at the female driver is the only way they can feel good about themselves.

    Anyway, men typically pay more in car insurance than women in America. Insurance companies look at accident rates, speeding and DUI to determine who’s a safe driver. More men than women tend to have these incidences so it increases their insurance rate.

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