Why Women Have a Greater Risk of Injury in Car Crashes

Research shows that women are significantly more likely to suffer injuries in car crashes than men, though it was not always clear why. A recent study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) may offer some clues.

According to the IIHS, women have always been more likely than men to sustain serious or fatal injuries in car crashes. Until recently, many people assumed that this was because of physical differences between the bodies of men and women. The study points to other factors, like the type of vehicle that many women choose to drive that may actually contribute to the higher number of injuries for women.

Reasons Women Are at an Increased Risk of Injury

Women are 17 percent more likely to die in motor vehicle collisions and 73 percent more likely to sustain an injury in a frontal crash than their male counterparts, Consumer Reports says. Historically, this vast disparity was blamed on physical differences between the sexes.

When car manufacturers design their vehicles’ safety features, they use crash test dummies to assess the effectiveness of their prototypes. The most commonly used crash test dummy in these tests represents the average American male, who is 5’9” tall and weighs 171 pounds.

This means car safety features are generally not developed with women in mind, which could pose unique risks to female drivers who are involved in accidents. However, when IIHS researchers analyzed sets of comparable crashes, they found that crashworthiness improvements in modern vehicles “benefited women more or less equally.”

The IIHS study suggests that two other factors could explain why women are more likely to be injured in car accidents.

The first factor is that women are more likely to drive smaller, lighter cars than men. Although men and women involved in accidents were equally likely to drive either SUVs or minivans, only 60 percent of men crashed in cars as compared to 70 percent of women. 20 percent of men involved in crashes drove pickup trucks, as opposed to just five percent of women. Across all vehicle classes, men were more likely to crash in heavier vehicles, which typically provide greater protection than smaller and lighter vehicles.

The second factor is that women are more likely than men to be in the “struck” vehicle in a side-impact or front-to-rear impact crash, while men are more likely to be driving the “striking” vehicle. The driver of a striking vehicle is significantly less likely to suffer injuries in an accident than the driver of a struck vehicle.

Cain Law Can Help

No matter how severe or complex your Oklahoma car accident case, Cain Law Office can help. Our knowledgeable OKC car accident lawyers have more than 25 years of experience fighting for the maximum compensation our clients deserve. Contact us today to take action on your claim and learn more about your rights during a free, confidential case review with a qualified Oklahoma City car accident attorney.