Distracted Driving: Who’s Worse, Men or Women?

distracted driving

Distracted driving has become rampant. Everywhere you look, someone is gabbing on the phone, texting, or doing something other than keeping their eyes on the road. It’s one of the many reasons we are seeing a rise in insurance companies implementing usage-based insurance programs–to reward good drivers while increasing rates of those who are guilty of distracted driving patters.  While we all know it’s happening, what we wanted to find out was who is the biggest culprit: men or women. To get to the bottom of it, we conducted a study with 427 people—59.02% male and 40.98% female—between the ages of 18 and 60.

Distracted Driving Results

The majority of all participants can’t ignore a text message, but men are slightly worse.

When we polled the group about what they do when they get a text while driving, a whopping 78% said they always give it a glance and 22% ignore it completely. This comes out to about 79% of the male group and 77% of the female participants who read texts while driving. The percentage of women who never check texts while driving is also better. About 22% of women ignore their phones entirely while driving in comparison to 20% of men.

Women respond to texts while driving more often than men.

Based on the whole study, 35% of participants said they never text back while driving, but 65% said that they do. When broken down by sex, this comes out to 67% of women and 62% of men who respond to text messages—giving this round to the men for lower frequencies of distracted driving.

To talk or not to talk. We have the answer.

Of the entire group polled, 77% said they have used their phone to talk or text while driving within the past week. On the flipside, about 23% said they have not. Looking at it through a male and female specific lense, it came to a tie. About 77% of both groups used their phones while driving.

Women tend to snack more behind the wheel than men.

While texting and driving is our main concern, snacking is another distracted driving behavior we wanted to investigate. It turns out, more women eat while driving than men—about 11% more to be precise.

Distracted driving causes accidents, but who is more often at fault?

When surveyed, 91% of all participants said a phone has never caused them to get into an accident. However, about 3% of participants have been in an accident because the other driver was on his/her phone and 6% have caused an accident while on their phone. In this case, men and women tied. About 3% of each group has caused an accident because of their phones. We’re glad the numbers are tipped to the side of safer driving for this one.

Men and women are both concerned by distracted driving.

While men and women are both guilty of texting and driving and other distracted driving habits, they are both worried when loved ones do it. Of men and women polled, 89% and 92%, respectively, would beg a friend or family member to stop texting or talking on the phone while driving. Only 10% of men and 8% of women would keep their mouths shut. Both parties also believe that using your phone is the most dangerous thing to do while driving compared to eating, smoking, or a combination of all three—with agreement among 47% of the men and 53% of women surveyed.

The Verdict

In the case of distracted driving and our slightly higher male participant ratio, we’ve concluded that the number of men and women who engage in distracted driving patterns is pretty comparable. While men marginally outweigh women in some categories, women form the majority in others.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter who texts or talks and drives the most. The bottom line is that none of us should be doing it. By keeping our eyes on the road, we can keep ourselves and others much safer. Our advice to every person driving is to concentrate on what you’re doing and leave playing with your phone for when you get out of the driver’s seat.

Tips for Cutting Down on Distracted Driving

If you are guilty of participating in driving behaviors that take your eyes off the road, don’t worry.  There are a number of ways for you to change your habits.

  1. Silence Your Phone– Hearing a text come in, or the ring of a call beckoning you to answer causes the largest temptation to answer your phone.  By silencing your phone before getting behind the wheel, you take away that temptation and can reduce the number of times you check your phone.  If you car has Bluetooth capabilities, make sure it is connected to your phone.  That way, if you must answer an emergency call, you can do it hands free.
  2. Set a No-Eating in The Car Rule– By never allowing yourself to eat in the car, you can cut back on the temptation to pull through the drive-through.
  3. Clear Expectations for Teen Drivers- While teens are not the only ones who are guilty of distracted driving behaviors, if you have teen drivers at home, we recommend you have an agreement in place for expectations for good driving behavior.

Becoming a safer driver by cutting back on distractions that may arise when behind the wheel will not only protect you and other drivers on the road, it may help to lower your car insurance rates.  Have questions on how you can save money by being a safer driver? Call us at 855-462-2213 to speak to an insurance expert.


All of our data was collected through a Survey Monkey poll and included 427 employees of Clearlink and friends of employees. All participants ranged from ages 1860 and were 59.02% male and 40.98% female, or 175 women and 252 men.

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