Women are still better drivers despite misconceptions by men

The fact that a woman is more likely to go for a snazzy metallic car with the perfect cup holder has nothing to do with the quality and safety of her driving

Despite evidence from car dealers, and accident and damage claim statistics presented by insurers, men still find it difficult to accept that women are better drivers.

“Facts are facts, and just because a woman favours one make of a 4×4 over another, and justifies her choice by saying that she likes the shape, does not mean that she is more likely to crash it, compared to her male counterparts who may buy on the basis of wheelbase, engine capacity, kilowatts and the torque produced at low revs,” says Nicholas Nkosi, Head of Vehicle and Asset Finance – Personal Markets at Standard Bank.

Unfortunately for men, the reality is that if you are younger than 30, you will find that women  drivers in the same age group pay up to 30% less in monthly premiums because they take fewer risks and are more vigilant.

“While there is no doubt that there are huge differences in car choices based on gender, we should be careful not to confuse driving ability with buying behaviour – choices that women make are purely based on their personalities,” he adds.

The differences between women and men when it comes to car choices is emphasised by research, conducted last year, by TNS on behalf of Standard Bank, from over a thousand car owners who participated in the ownership survey that was part of the 2014 Standard Bank People’s Wheels Awards.

When it comes to choosing a vehicle the gender of the purchaser is a critical factor. South African women listed Chevrolet, Fiat, Hyundai, and Toyota as their favourites, whilst men leaned towards Mercedes Benz and BMW as their vehicles of choice.

“These choices suggest that women will more often be influenced by practical considerations and that men choose their cars primarily based on performance  and masculinity. Despite their differences when it comes to selecting cars, both genders regard style and looks as the most important consideration when buying a car. Similarly, they both place safety features high up on their respective lists,” says Mr Nkosi.

Given the increasing cost of vehicles locally, it is also interesting to note that 86% of drivers polled in the research said they would buy the same make again – indicating a high level of satisfaction with the vehicle they presently owned.

Overall, the impression this gives is that much thought and research is undertaken before buying decisions are made.

Furthermore, most South Africans, regardless of gender, choose vehicle financing as the quickest route to acquiring the vehicle of their dreams. Women, however, are more likely to consider their choice in light of available budget and the impact it could have on balancing their household accounts.

“With vehicle prices constantly moving upwards, we expect that more purchasers will begin moving their car selection criteria away from what they can afford on a monthly basis, to a more in-depth analysis of price based on costs, interest rates, depreciation and trade-in values. This is to be encouraged as a car is generally the second most expensive acquisition for most families, after a house,” concludes Mr Nkosi.

Additional Info

TNS South Africa, based in Durban, is part of Kantar, one of the world’s largest insight, information and consultancy groups and has operated in South Africa for more than 30 years. With a presence in over 80 countries, TNS has more conversations with the world’s consumers than anyone else and understands individual human behaviours and attitudes across every cultural, economic and political region of the world.

Standard Bank People’s Wheels Awards is an annual awards programme established by the Future Group in partnership with TNS and sponsored by Standard Bank. The awards are a result of a nationwide online survey run over a 3 month period to deduce winners in 22 categories. The car which received the highest number of votes is dubbed – The People’s Choice, the overall winner.

Also view:

Road Safety Advice for Women driving Alone

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