Press release

Sex plays a part in safer driving

Monday 20 January 2014

• Men are more likely to speed, get angry behind the wheel and park incorrectly
• One in five over 50s are less likely to hog middle lanes because of new laws
• Younger drivers 3.2 times more likely to have an accident
• Younger drivers 4.6 times more likely to have an accident involving casualties

Most couples argue about who’s the better driver, but research by Saga Motor Insurance could be music to women’s ears, as it confirms that men have a list of bad habits when they’re behind the wheel.

The survey of some 10,000 drivers aged over 50 shows that men are more likely to admit to speeding on the motorway (men 57%, women 37%), and in built up areas (men 51%, women 35%).

Men are also more emotional when they get behind the wheel, as one in four men admit that they have used their horn or flashed their lights out of anger in the last year, compared to one in seven women. Whilst a quarter of men say that they have shouted and gestured to other road users, whereas just one in seven women admits to losing their temper behind the wheel.

However, despite this research revealing the over 50s bad habits behind the wheel, the truth is younger drivers are 3.2 times much more likely to have an accident and 4.6 times more likely to have an accident that injures someone.

Age and experience are key factors when it comes to safety on the road. The over 50s have 42% of all UK driving licenses, yet are involved in just 28% of reported accidents. However, drivers aged under 20 are 1.7 times more likely to have an accident, whereas those aged 60 to 69 are half as likely as the average motorist. The difference is even more stark when it comes to being involved in an accident involving casualties with the under 20s being twice as likely as the average motorist to be involved in an accident that involves casualties**.

Even though the over 50s are safer on the road, there is still a big difference in their driving habits. While women might have the worst reputation when it comes to parking, it’s men that are the biggest parking violators. Men are twice as likely to park on double yellow lines or areas they shouldn’t, such as disabled spaces or parent and child bays. 

On top of these bad habits, research suggests that men could be the most likely to get an on-the-spot fine for tailgating or hogging the middle lane, as men are the most likely to drive too close to the car in front to get them to move over (men 10%, women 7%) and sit in the middle lane when they shouldn’t (men 5%, women 2%). 

But it’s not all bad news, as recent changes that the government introduced last summer appear to be keeping drivers in the right lanes, with one in five over 50s saying that they are less likely to hog the middle lane now that they could get a ticket for it.

Roger Ramsden, chief executive, Saga Services, commented: “New on-the-spot fines do appear to be clearing the motorways of middle lane hoggers but whilst older motorists retain a few bad habits, they are still by far the safest drivers.”


Notes to Editors
• *Populus interviewed 10,505 Saga customers, 9,802 drive, all aged 50 and over, online between 18th and 24th October 2013.  Populus is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.
• **Data from Department of Transport

  Table showing number of accidents by age


 bad driving habits of the over 50s