Obviously, not all women are perfect, or even very good, drivers, and all men are not terrible, or even poor, drivers. However, some statistics might be interesting to look at.
Based on some 2007 numbers (the most recent of which I have available, and I doubt that there is much variation from 2007 to 2008 or 2009), the following facts stand out:
* Men are more than twice as likely to receive a traffic citation as women
* Men are cited more often than women for impaired driving — almost three times as many as women.
* Men have more crashes than women — almost three times as many fatal crashes.
* Young men between the ages of 16 and 24 are, statistically speaking, the most at-risk group — they pay almost twice the base insurance rate as more mature drivers, while young women in the same age group pay only about 25 percent more.
So, what do these facts tell us? For starters, I can no longer automatically silently chastise the young women and girls I see speeding along my quiet suburban street each day. I know that the young men and boys are worse. I can, however, take satisfaction that since I am seeing them from the comfort of my home or driveway, I am at least not out on the streets competing with them — yet. As soon as I pull out of the driveway, I know there will be some testosterone-driven youngish person (at my age, they are almost all younger), most likely a male, who just has to show everyone else that his car is faster than everyone else’s car or that he is in such a hurry that he must dart in and out of traffic.
All I can do is hope that I am not in his path and take some small comfort in thinking that the law of averages will catch up with him sooner or later. After all, I was never young once. I never got into trouble with my — uh — my Dad’s car. I have never received a traffic citation. Yeah, right!
Those of you reading this who have younger family members or friends, please do not nag them. Thinking that you can nag someone into a safe behavior pattern, or any behavior pattern, is very unrealistic. As in most life lessons, we learn by example and we learn by doing. If you are a “good” driver, then strive to create those good driving habits in your children and younger friends. Set an example by looking out for the other guy and keeping yourself in line as well.
OK, I’m off the soapbox, but I am still alert to all those other drivers out there. I am not paranoid, but I know they are out to get me.
Kant has been the lead engineer/manager in development, design and construction in many of the transportation improvement projects in both Lee and Collier counties. He is a former director of Transportation Operations in Collier County and now teaches and consults. His blog, Stuck in Traffic, is available at naplesnews.com/blogs