explainer

The reason why a woman is more likely to die in a car crash than a man is.

If you’re reading this right before you go and jump in your car, take note.

According to disturbing new statistics, it turns out women are considerably more likely to die in a car crash than men are.

Although men are more likely to be involved in a car crash, women are more likely to suffer from serious or moderate injuries when involved in a car accident.

According to stats shared in Caroline Criado Perez’s new book Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men, an extract of which was shared on The Guardianwhen women are involved in a car crash, they are 47 per cent more likely to be seriously injured than men and 71 per cent more likely to be moderately injured.

In a crash, women are also 17 per cent more likely to die.

These harrowing statistics come down to one factor – cars are designed with men’s safety in mind, not women’s.

Until just a few years ago, car manufacturers didn’t carry out tests using ‘female’ crash test dummies in the driver’s seats.

Instead, since the 1950s, crash test dummies have been based around the 50th-percentile male.

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This means that the dummies used in car crash testing weighed 76kg and were 1.77m tall, meaning they were considerably taller and larger than the average woman.

The dummies used also had male muscle-mass proportions.

Decades ago in the 1980s, the case for the inclusion of a female crash test dummy was argued by researchers at Michigan University.

In the end, however, manufacturers largely ignored the advice and continued to test cars based on the safety of males.

Although in 2011 car manufacturers started to use smaller crash test dummies which replicated the female form, there’s no denying that the consequences of this shortcut being made by manufacturers for many years beforehand may have been deadly.

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Besides the failure to test cars using female crash test dummies, there are a number of other factors that have led to the higher rates of women dying in car crashes.

One factor is that women don’t actually sit in the standard seating position while driving.

As cars have been designed with the male driver in mind, women, who are on average shorter, are forcer to sit closer to the steering wheel to see clearly over the dashboard.

car crash statistics
Women at a greater risk of suffering internal injuries in the case of a frontal car collision. Image: Getty.

This in turn puts women at a greater risk of suffering internal injuries in the case of a frontal car collision.

In rear-end collisions, women are also three times more likely to suffer whiplash.

According to Swedish research referred to in Perez's book, modern car seats are too firm, meaning in the case of a car crash, women are more likely to be thrown forward faster than men thus resulting in whiplash injuries.

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