You have probably heard all of the jokes about women being poor drivers. Joke while you can, but women are actually statistically safer drivers than men. Researchers think that women have better reaction times than men, and their small motor skills are also better than men. Women have been found to speed less, and take fewer risks on the road. If all of this is true, then why are women more likely to die or be severely injured than men? There are several reasons women are more likely to be injured in a wreck. 

Vehicle Choice

One reason women may be injured severely in a car accident is because of the vehicles they drive.  In fact, an Orange County car accident lawyer from the Barnes Firm believes that it is often due to their tendencies to choose smaller lighter vehicles rather than bigger, safer cars. That is why safety features in vehicles keep improving each year, but safety improvements may not be enough. 

Women are more likely to drive sub-compact or compact cars. Sub-compact cars generally have two doors. They also have around 88 feet of passenger and cargo space, a four-liter engine, and weigh around 2500 pounds. Often, women drive sub-compact cars because they are cheaper and get good gas mileage. While there’s nothing wrong with driving a compact car, it is no match for a larger vehicle in an accident. This is especially true if a compact or a sub-compact car is involved in an accident with a semi-truck. Because men tend to drive larger vehicles, they are less likely to be involved in an accident that leads to death or injury. 

Style of Driving

Insurance researchers have noted that not only do women drive smaller, lighter cars, but they also are more likely to be hit. Male drivers are usually in the vehicle that hits another car. Many researchers think this is due to driving styles. Male drivers tend to be more aggressive than female drivers in general--they drive faster and take greater risks. Men also text more while driving, as compared to women. Think about this for a minute: a woman stops in a subcompact car at a four-way stop sign, looks both ways, then moves into the intersection--where she is hit by a man driving a pickup truck. Who is more likely to be injured?

Safety Issues

Women are more likely to have significant injuries to their lower bodies. Leg injuries in particular are more significant with women in accidents than are men. Leg injuries in accidents include broken bones and compound fractures, knee injuries and amputations. Women are also more likely to have head and neck trauma than men are.

Many researchers think that women suffer from more serious injuries in car accidents because of the way cars are configured. In general, women sit further forward when they drive, because they are shorter than men, and their legs are shorter as well. Airbags are configured for men who sit farther away, which places women at a greater risk for facial injuries in an accident, as well as leg injuries. Because women’s heads and necks are differently shaped and muscled, they are more likely to get concussions and whiplash as well. Lower back injuries due to seatbelt use are also more common in women than in men. Even crash test dummies that are used to “represent” drivers and passengers in a wreck are built on the male form. Researchers have noted that female crash test dummies aren’t built on a female form in many cases, but instead on a male form reduced in size. 

What Should You Do If You’re a Woman Driver?

If you are a woman, there are a few things that you can do to keep yourself safe on the road. First, put down that cell phone. Distracted driving causes more accidents than any other issue. Leave your cell phone in your purse, or stick it in the glove compartment. You can also use a program on your phone that mutes calls and texts while you’re driving. 

Second, don’t drive if you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Women are more likely over over-imibe on alcohol, prescription medication, over-the-counter medication, or other recreational drugs because the “average” dose is formulated for men rather than women. If you are concerned about the amount of medication, drugs or alcohol you have taken, call a car or have someone else drive you home. 

If you are in an accident, be sure that you get checked out by a doctor, because women tend to downplay their injuries after an accident. Once the adrenaline from the accident wears off, you may be in pain. Before you reach for the aspirin, reach for the phone and call a lawyer for a consultation.