Slow and steady wins the race for women drivers

20 October 2011

  • Average female has 22 driving lessons, compared with 16 for males
  • Females spend almost 40% more than males learning to drive
  • Men are more likely to speed according to data

New research from The Co-operative Insurance reveals the different approaches men and women take to learning to drive.

The survey* highlights that while men will only undertake an average 16 hours of driving tuition, women will need 22 hours before passing their test.  

The research also reveals that females spend almost 40% more on learning to drive than males, with the average woman spending £528 compared with just £384 for a typical man.**

The survey carried out for The Co-operative Insurance Facebook launch, also shows that 20% of men will choose not to take lessons with a driving instructor compared to just 10% of women.  

And while both sexes require on average two attempts to pass their test, men will ditch the ‘L Plates’ two months ahead of women, with the average age to pass a test being 19.5 years for a male and 19.7 years for a female.

The findings also show that men and women show a different attitude towards the road once they pass their test, with men being surer of their own driving ability.

More than a third (34%) of men class their driving as ‘confident’ compared to a quarter of women (24%) and almost double the number of men than women claim their driving is either ‘excellent’ or ‘skilled’. In contrast, twice the amount of women describe themselves as ‘worried’, ‘scared’ or ‘distracted’ road users.

Grant Mitchell, Head of Motor Insurance at The Co-operative Insurance, said: “Our findings show that men tend to need less practice before passing their test, although this doesn’t necessarily make them the better drivers. In fact, because women tend to take more time learning to drive they are likely to have built up more experience of the road before they pass their test.”

The findings show that men are also more likely to take bigger risks on the road once they pass their test than women and don’t show as much regard for speed limits. More than half of men (54%) do not believe that driving above 80 mph is speeding, compared to only 42% of women, while nearly a third of men (32%) admit to regularly breaking speed limits compared to just over a fifth of women (22%).

Grant Mitchell said: “Men tend to approach the road with a more confident attitude than women. Of course, confidence is a good thing but young drivers need to remember that passing the test is just the start of their driving experience and not like the controlled environment of an instructor's car. When a lack of experience is couple with over-confidence, then accidents can and do happen."

Recent figures from road safety charity Brake show that 2,946 people are killed on Britain’s roads every year and a further 244,834 injured and that one in five new drivers also has a crash within six months of passing their test.***

Young Driver insurance was launched by The Co-operative to help cut the cost of insurance for 17 to 25 year olds while helping to improve road safety. The Facebook page is running the ‘Big Test’ competition giving drivers the chance to win a year’s free Young Driver insurance by uploading a photograph or video to show how they felt when they passed their driving test. Available at:!/cooperativeinsurance


Additional Information:

*Research carried out by in September 2011, with a population of over 3,000 respondents.

**Average female has 22 lessons
Average male has 16 lessons
Average cost of driving lesson is £24 according to AA



About The Co-operative Banking Group:

The Co-operative Banking Group, formerly known as The Co-operative Financial Services, is the banking and insurance arm of The Co-operative Group, which is the world’s largest consumer co-operative with around six million members, over £14 billion turnover, and core business interests in financial services, food, travel, pharmacy and funeral care.  The Co-operative Group has over 5,000 retail trading outlets.

Following the merger with Britannia on 1 August 2009, the organisation is one of the largest and most highly diversified mutual businesses operating in both retail and corporate banking markets.

As part of The Co-operative Group, the business is characterised by its unique ethical and member reward policies and very high levels of customer advocacy.

The Co-operative Banking Group has £70 billion in assets, 12,000 staff and nine million customers.  It has over 300 high street branches, 20 corporate banking centres and major presences in Manchester, Leek, London, Plymouth, Skelmersdale and Stockport.  

It is the only mutual organisation that enables its members to earn financial rewards for the products they hold, as well as giving them the opportunity to have a say in how the business is run.