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Women are better drivers says survey, but the debate rages on

By Joanne Sweeney

It's official: women are better drivers than men - and they are not as cocky about their skills behind the wheel either.

A new survey has stirred up the heated debate between the sexes on who makes the better driver.

The month-long research - which was a combination of in-car tests and anonymous observation - shows that not only did the women drivers consistently score higher than males, but they were more also modest about their skills.

The survey from Privilege Insurance marked drivers on 14 different aspects of driving.

Women scored 23.6 points out of a possible 30 while men achieved 19.8 points out of 30 in the results from a sample of 50 drivers who faced an in-car assessment.

Another 200 drivers were watched as they approached Hyde Park Corner, one of the busiest junctions in London.

The problem of tailgating - driving too close to the car in front - was more of an issue for male drivers, with 27% of them driving too close compared to just 4% of women.

Despite the results, the survey revealed that men generally believe that they were the better drivers.

Only 13% of men thought that women were better drivers compared to 28% of women who thought that men were better.

Miss Northern Ireland organiser Alison Clarke, wife of golfer Darren Clarke, agrees that women come out tops on the road.

"Darren's a real petrolhead and loves fast cars and has driven all kinds over the years," said the model agency boss.

"He is a very good driver and may think he's better than me, but he's not.

"It's men who seem to get more irritated at the wheel, particularly when they are flashing their lights even when you are travelling at 70mph in the outside lane or shaking their heads at traffic stops when someone doesn't move off as quickly as they would like."

Belfast's Olympic bronze medallist boxer Paddy Barnes thinks that while there's good and bad drivers on both sides, he's better than his fiancée Mari.

"I think I take a more broader view of the road and that I'm generally more aware of everything that is happening on the road," he said. "But women are probably better drivers in the sense that they are more careful."

Former Isle of Man TT champion road racer Phillip McCallen reckons that women are likely to observe the rules of the road.

"At the Philip McCallen Motorcycle Training Academy, we find that women are better students than men," he said. "They are more likely to listen and take instructions, while us men think we know everything and barge on, sometimes to our cost.

"That's just a male ego thing.

In general, women's co-ordination is a bit better than men.

"My wife Manda is more likely to listen to the rules of driving and observe them than me.

"I'm not saying I'm a bad driver but I just wouldn't be as likely to do that as she is."

Downtown Radio presenter Siobhan McGarry thinks that women do make better drivers, apart from when they are parking.

"Tell us something we don't know," she told the Belfast Telegraph:

"Anybody who listens to me on Downtown Radio knows that I drive up and down the M1 and have a rant about some of the driving habits.

"I have to say that most of them are male drivers.

"But when it comes to me driving with a trailer on the back, you can forget it. And I don't really have a great sense of direction."

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