Updated: Apr 11
Guest post by Mary McCrink
Please note this blog contains references and imagery relating to car accidents that may be triggering for some individuals.
Female drivers are more likely to be killed and seriously injured in a car crash compared to male drivers according to the American National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
According to another study by researchers at the University of Virginia, “women wearing
seat belts were 47% more likely than male seat belt-wearers to be seriously injured and 71% more likely to be moderately injured".
Why is this? Since 1970, only average male and small male dummies have been used in crash testing.
“According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, today's average
female is 5.4 inches shorter and 27 pounds lighter than the average male. As a result,
females may sit closer to the steering wheel or wear their seatbelts differently from males.
But differences aren't just about shape, size, and position. For example, the female pelvis has a geometry that's different from the male pelvis, and the male neck is stronger when it comes to forces that bend it. Even the internal makeup of female bones can be different from that of male bones. Because crash injuries and fatalities are often related to bone fractures, this may explain some of the disparities between the sexes.”
Source: Consumer Reports
Sweden created the world’s first female crash test dummy in 2022 which reflects the
difference between male and female autonomy. This is great news, and a step in the right direction towards gender equality in terms of road health and safety.
However, it begs the question of why it has taken until 2022 for the first female test dummy to be created.
According to Travelers United, “the National Highway and Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) testing is biased against women, as these issues are the result of bureaucratic inertia and years of testing discrimination. The result is no female crash dummies being used” and therefore is putting women at risk.
Although having the first female dummy is a step in the right direction, female drivers are driving cars without adequate testing. Consumer Reports states that “absence has set the course for four decades’ worth of car safety design, with deadly consequences.”
Women have been killed and seriously injured by car crashes, airbags, and seatbelts due to inadequate testing. This is the result of society not taking women’s health and safety
I am beyond fortunate to have accidentally come across this information on an Instagram video a few months prior to my car accident, along with a demonstration on how to
adjust my wheel/airbag and seating position in the safest way possible when driving as a small woman of 5ft 2 inches.
This was my car the day following 04/12/2022 where I was lucky enough to have walked away with minimal injuries and more importantly, walked away alive.
The outcome of this could have been a lot worse if I was positioned in my car the way I had been for five years prior to coming across this information. I sat dangerously close to the wheel and sat low down whereby the airbag was aimed more at my head, face, and neck.
It is important for this safety information to become part of the theory and practical driving lessons and tests. I have been driving for five years and have only found out years after I passed my driving test.
Women’s safety when driving needs to be taken more seriously, and it was no surprise that when I began to tell my not-so-lucky but lucky story, did other women feel blinded and shocked by this information that has been so unknown to many of us.
Please take a few minutes to check out Driversed.com driving position safety tips for pregnant women.
You may also like to check this Blog from Volvo on the E.V.A Initiative https://www.volvocars.com/en-ca/v/car-safety/eva-initiative-cars-equally-safe
Please, pass this on to the women in your lives, it could genuinely save someone. Please adjust the height of your seat and the height and positioning of the wheel according to your height.
I honestly didn’t think it could be me, but here I am today feeling fortunate to have seen that information months before the night I could have potentially been seriously injured or worse, lost my life.