Why do women have a higher risk of serious auto accident injury?

| Apr 28, 2021 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recently released a study indicating that women have a higher rate of serious auto accident injury than men do. Understanding the reasons behind this effect can help people stay safer on the road.

IIHS research about catastrophic auto accidents and gender explores the factors that lead to increased injury risk for women.

Looking at the numbers

While men have a higher rate of auto accidents overall, women have a higher auto accident injury rate. Statistically, men also engage in riskier driving actions and drive more miles on average.

The IIHS study reviewed front and side crashes that took place from 1998 to 2015. In these cases, women had a 300% higher instance of moderate auto accident injury and 200% higher instance of serious injury compared to men in the study.

Exploring contributing factors

Vehicle choice may explain the gender discrepancy in serious accident injuries. The IIHS reports that in the studied collisions, 70% of women and 60% of men were in cars. While just 5% of women were in pickup trucks when accidents occurred, 20% of men were in these more robust vehicles.

In addition, when the researchers looked only at collisions involving vehicles of a similar size and weight, they found a much smaller gender difference in injury rates. Even in these instances, women had a 70% higher rate of serious leg injuries and a 250% higher rate of moderate leg injuries.

When shopping for a vehicle, reviewing crash test ratings may help drivers avoid some catastrophic injuries in an accident.