Being involved in a car accident is a scary experience, only made worse by the possibility of injury. As a pedestrian, even getting hit by a low speed vehicle can be deadly, with 40% of people hit by a car going 30 mph succumbing to their injuries. For multi-car collisions, accidents cause passengers to come to an abrupt stop from whatever speed they were traveling at, which can result in serious external or internal injuries.

A point not often looked at, however, is the difference in injury level between women and men during a car accident. Determine if you are at a higher risk for injury prior to getting on the road. 

Are Women More Likely to Injured in a Car Accident Than Men?

Women are indeed more likely to die in a car accident than men. On average, a woman have a 72% higher chance of being injured during a wreck than a man, not to mention a 17% higher fatality rate. These rates include all proper safety measures such as wearing a seatbelt and are determined using a mirrored situation with the only difference being whether it’s a woman or man sitting in the seat. 

Why Are Women More at Risk?

Women are more at risk for injury during a car accident due to how safety ratings for vehicles are determined. When the National Highway Safety Transportation Association (NHSTA) assigns a safety rating using crash tests, they use dummies that simulate the average person.

However, the dummy that has historically been used to represent a woman is simply a scaled down version of the male dummy. It does not have any of the internal or external features that distinguish between sexes. As a result, vehicles may receive a higher safety rating if both dummies sustain minor injuries, yet the smaller dummy is not representative of the average woman. 

While new female crash test dummies are being introduced by the Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute, they aren’t yet legally required for testing. This means that staying safe on the road as a woman is all about preventing an accident from occurring in the first place. 

5 Safe Driving Tips to Prevent Injury

1. Always wear your seatbelt

A seemingly obvious tip, always making sure to wear your seat belt is hands down one of the best ways to avoid an accident. Current estimates from the National Safety Council conclude that seatbelts reduce occupants death risk by 45% and the risk of critical injury by 50%. Despite the fact that test dummies aren’t designed for women, seatbelts will still help in the event of an accident. 

2. Avoid driving in poor weather

Poor weather is a major cause of accidents on the road and should be avoided at all costs. If visibility is lower or traction is minimal, it’s best to save your drive for another day if possible. In the event you do need to go out in poor weather, maintain greater distance from other drivers. 

3. Scan the road 12 seconds ahead of you

By scanning the road roughly 12 seconds ahead of you, you can potentially spot any accidents that may require reactive driving such as evasive action. It will also give you more stopping time if somebody suddenly slams on their brakes for no reason. 

4. Never drive distracted

At all costs, it’s best to avoid using a cellular device while driving, including using it for music. Additionally, avoid eating while driving or some other action that takes your total attention away from the road. 

5. Use the 3-to-4 second rule while driving

When leaving distance between you and a driver in front of you, the 3 to 4 second rule is an excellent strategy. This means that it should take you 3 to 4 seconds to reach where that other driver is currently on the road. In poor weather, it’s best to push this rule back even more to potentially 6 to 8 seconds. 

Reduce your risk of an accident today

Despite a higher risk of injury, driving is nearly a necessity in today’s day and age. Even once female crash test dummies are used to test the ratings for vehicles as well, the above tips should still be implemented in your driving strategy. After all, the best way to stay safe in a car accident is to avoid the accident entirely. Keep yourself and others safe every time you take your vehicle on the open road.