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Women Driver Facts

Women have come a long way when it comes to driving and the automotive industry. As increasing numbers of very busy women spend more time behind the wheel, they identify features that help make their lives easier. Car manufacturers are listening too, since the number of women buying cars represents a large and growing proportion of all car buyers. New autos come fully equipped with plenty of safety features, improved ease of access, expanded seating capacity and more on board storage. Women are becoming more savvy when it comes to maintaining cars as well, which will no doubt cause a tide of changes in the automotive service industry geared towards attracting and appealing to new female customers.

General Facts about Women Drivers

Women influence 80% of all car purchases and have veto power on about 95% of all vehicle purchase decisions. Almost 75% of women make the car maintenance decisions in their household, and between 65% to 80% of car maintenance customers are women. As the number of women customers continues to grow, automotive technicians and service managers must invest in improving communication with women to maintain good business relationships. Women are more inquisitive when it comes to car repairs than men, and care more about the details of the car repairs.

Female Buying Habits

Approximately 30% of women read four auto magazines for up to 12 months before making a car purchase. Females placed a high priority on economic factors, car dependability and specific features and functionality when investigating a car model to purchase.

The Driving Personality of Women

Overall, women do not engage in risky behaviors while driving. Statistics prove that women do not operate vehicles while drunk nearly as often as men. They also tend to drive much less after dark, and women do not engage in the types of driving activity that contribute to accidents such as rollovers. About 62% of women worry about get stuck in a broken-down car on a deserted road, compared to only 29% of men.

Women have different driving patterns than men. With more women working while still retaining the main child-care responsibility, efficiency is key. Working women combine their daily commute with errands for the family, with over 60% of women making one errand stop on their way home from work. Almost 30% of women find the need to make two stops for errands before they head home for the day.

Men’s Driving Personality

Men tend to drive more aggressively than women. They also drive more frequently while under the influence, and a University of Montreal study links macho behavior to increased driving risk. The University conducted a test that gave 22 men a directive to catch a certain car on the road, while they sat in a driving simulator. Men who ranked higher on the “macho” scale took more driving risks while carrying out their assignment. According to the study, interviews and completed questionnaires from the study’s male participants, some men develop a level of passion when it comes to driving that can become almost obsessive. Men tend to consider a car as an extension of themselves, and they show extreme aggressiveness when other drivers honk at them or cut them off.

Women-Preferred Cars

Women account for over 40% of all Sport-Utility vehicle and light truck purchases, and those numbers continue to grow. Women also tend to buy more economical, compact SUVs, while men prefer the larger luxury model SUVs. About 53% of used car sales are made to women. Whether the car is new or used, women look for durable cars that have a record of reliable performance, along with good seating capacity and all of the latest safety features.

Marketing to Women

The focus of marketing and advertising is changing somewhat to appeal more to women. Auto manufacturers have started adding many more women to their payroll. General Motors has installed several new females to key executive positions, and Saturn has a senior leadership group comprised of 40% females. Marketing and advertising campaigns are changing to focus on women’s car buying decisions. Jiffy Lube has started revamping its waiting rooms to appeal more to women by adding Internet access, televisions, a listening station for CDs, telephones and toy boxes to keep the kids entertained.

Traffic Statistics

Over 80% of women over age 65 are driving, and will most likely continue to drive well into their golden years. Women may not be “better” drivers than men, but they are safer drivers. A study of auto accidents involving pedestrians in New York City showed male drivers were responsible for 80% of the accidents. A study from Sweden’s Department of Health looked at gender differences and the likelihood of an auto accident in the drivers’ first year of driving. The study found all age groups had a crash incidence for males that was double the rate for women, in all age groups. Additionally, men’s fatality rate was five times that of the women, based on single-car crashes that did not involve any other vehicle. The study concluded that both youth and male gender were important metrics to determine crash risk and consequences in drivers.

Car Insurance Rates for Women Drivers

Car insurance rates vary based on many factors, but the influence of gender cannot be denied. Over the years, women have proven to be safer drivers, based on large amounts of statistical accident data. Additionally, the type of car a person drives can make a substantial difference in insurance rates, since some cars do not perform as well in a crash situation, and women tend to choose cars that perform well in crash tests and have a good amount of safety equipment installed. As more women hit the road the difference between genders may narrow, but for now the difference is still apparent and insurance companies will continue to reward women for removing some of the risk when it comes to driving safely.

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