Twice as many female drivers fail test due to bad parking compared to men


TWICE as many women fail their driving test due to bad parking compared to men – new data has revealed.

While women are more likely to fail a test due to parking or reversing, male drivers are more guilty of driving recklessly and ignoring mirrors or road signs.

The new data, released by Driving Standards Agency (DSA) – via freedom of information – shows failing to observe junctions and checking mirrors accounted for the most number of driving fails last year.

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Women learners proved slightly worse when under driving exam conditions – making 68,217 serious or dangerous faults while sitting their practical driving test, compared to 52,144 faults by men.

Driving experts say the figures show clear gender divides when it comes to specific motoring skills.

The DSA data showed women made twice as many faults as men with their reverse parking during their driving test.

Men made just 1,652 dangerous reverse parking faults, compared to females 3,367.

There were also three times as many faults recorded by women when asked to control their car on the road – 198 male mistakes to females 622.

The most common offense for women during the test was failing to make proper observations at junctions, with 8,612 faults recorded in 2012.

Despite showing control with parking and reversing, males were guilty of more reckless forms of driving.

While there were 2,050 instances of women failing to respond to traffic signs, the number rose to 2,127 among men.


More men also failed to use their mirrors before signalling, 520 versus 477 women, and more failed for having poor eyesight (26 compared to 10).

More male drivers flunked their test due to failing to drive off safely, with 2,279 male drivers guilty of this offense compared to 2,247 female faults.

RAC spokesman Pete Williams said: “The debate about who makes the better drivers, men or women, is almost as old as the motor car itself.

“These results do apparently demonstrate that there are some differences when it comes to reversing and parallel parking. Clearly there are some traits and talents that are more prominent in the different sexes.

“Generally men appear to have a lead foot when it comes to the accelerator, while women appear to be more compliant when it comes to speed limits.”

Others, however, suggested that nerves rather than gender were a far greater influence on the outcome of a driving test.

Jim Kirkwood, managing director of AA Driving School, said: “Problems like failing to stop at traffic signs and issues with manoeuvring are more likely to come down to nerves on the day, rather than someone’s gender.

“If you fail your test for something like failing to stop or incorrect use of mirrors then you really need to work on your observation skills before you try the test again.”

He added: “If manoeuvring is your downfall then practice is the key, as well as remaining calm on the day.

“Learners, regardless of their gender, should get a good night’s sleep before their test, take some deep breaths before they start and try to remember they wouldn’t be taking their test if their instructor didn’t think they were ready.”

The category failed by the fewest drivers during 2012 was lack of knowledge of the Highway Code, with just two men and five women across Scotland losing out on their licence as a result.

According to the DSA, there were 1.57 million practical car tests carried out in Britain last year, with an overall pass rate of 46.3 per cent.

The pass rate for men was 49.6 per cent, while for women it stood at 43.3 per cent.

The total number of errors recorded by the DSA far exceeds the number of practical tests taken during the same period, as many candidates who failed made multiple serious or dangerous faults.

Traditionally, lower car insurance premiums enjoyed by women suggest that after passing their tests they go on to become better drivers than men.