SPECIAL REPORT: Better Drivers: Men vs. Women

TYLER (KYTX) - It's an age old battle that carries right into the driver's seat, men versus women.

And the stereotypes go on, men drive too fast, women don't pay attention.

But would you believe with all the jokes about women drivers, they're actually the safer gender behind the wheel?

CBS 19's Jennifer Heathcock shows us how the gender gap makes a difference on the road.

Whether you base your facts on insurance rates, the number of tickets or even the number of deadly car crashes, women fare better when they get in the drivers seat.

But how is it gender can make a difference?

Distractions come in all shapes, sizes, and genders.

We've all heard the jokes that women don't pay attention, even put on make up while cruising the highway.

But when it comes down to it, who's better once you leave the driveway?

"I like it when you drive. You're pretty much a safe driver," says Fran Morgan.

"I'm very much a safe driver," says Mel Morgan, her husband.

"Until you get in the city," says Fran.

It's the ever present battle, who's a better driver.

Fran and Mel Morgan both say they're safe, one having gone through years of training through work,

the other went through Nascar driving school, grew up in a small community, and says she's safest in town.

Even Mel admits Fran is the more patient one of the pair, and she can prove it with her lack of traffic tickets.

All jokes aside, statistics from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety show men are more than 3 times more likely to drive recklessly, have a DUI, or not wear their seatbelts.

Men are also 1.75 times more likely to be ticketed for speeding.

What does all of this add up to?

Higher insurance rates.

Overall, women pay 9% less for auto insurance.

But is gender a variable law enforcement sees as making a better driver too?

"The safest driver is the one who is paying attention to all of the conditions that are going on around them. The traffic conditions, the weather conditions, the vehicle condition," says Trooper Jeanne Dark.

Trooper Dark says there's nothing about an X or Y chromosome that makes you a better driver, it's about keeping yourself from distractions.

"The majority of the crashes the Highway Patrol works involve distracted drivers," says Trooper Dark.

Put down the cell phone, don't touch the dial, and make sure you check your mirrors and keep your hands on the wheel.

Although our test showed two very capable, safe, and knowledgeable drivers.

On a serious note, based on miles traveled, men ages 16 to 19 have the highest fatality rate in crashes. That number drops significantly between the ages of 20 to 29.

Many studies point to aggressive driving fueling those numbers for men.

Another big determining factor in driving can be age according to insurance agencies.

Women get a break in their rates at 21, and men have to wait a few more years for the lower payments to set in.


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