Every time you get behind the wheel, you navigate a world of potential risks and rewards. Driving offers freedom, the ability to travel and a sense of independence. However, it also comes with a significant level of responsibility, as accidents are a daily occurrence on roads worldwide.
For women, a recent study reveals a concerning trend: they may face a higher likelihood of injury in car accidents compared to men. Surprisingly, this increased risk is not due to any physiological differences between the genders. So, what is contributing to this alarming disparity, and what can women do to reduce these risks?
The significance of vehicle choice
According to a recent report from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, about 70% of women involved in car accidents drove cars, while only 60 percent of men were in cars. In contrast, 20% of men drove pickup trucks, while less than 5% of women drove trucks.
This difference in vehicle choice plays a large role in the increased injury risk for women. Larger and heavier vehicles generally offer more protection for occupants during collisions, which gives men an advantage when accidents occur.
Crash dynamics and their effects
When researchers analyzed side and front crashes reported by police from 1998 to 2015, they discovered alarming inequalities. Women were two times more likely to sustain a severe injury than men and even more likely to suffer a moderate injury. However, when researchers examined “compatible” crashes—accidents involving two similar cars as far as weight and size—the difference in injury rates between men and women decreased significantly.
However, the data still showed that women were prone to certain types of injuries more than men, particularly those to the lower body.
Reducing the risks
Carefully selecting your vehicle is one way to improve your safety on the road. Choosing a car with a top rating in the IIHS moderate front overlap crash test connected to a reduced risk of lower body injuries for drivers of both genders. In addition, considering advanced safety features, such as automatic emergency braking, can further help to reduce injury inconsistencies between men and women.
While driving involves inherent risks for everyone, women face specific challenges when compared to men. Recognizing these differences is the first step toward addressing them and making the road a safer place for everyone.