Men More Likely to Drive Distracted Than Women, Survey Says

Among other things, men are 260 percent more likely to check out pedestrians.

Irresponsible man at steering wheel checking messages on smart phone while driving car on road.
Arterra—UIG via Getty Images

Forget the old stereotype of women being worse drivers than men. According to a survey conducted by Smith's Lawyers, men are far more likely to be distracted behind the wheel than women in several different ways—particularly looking at pedestrians.

The survey asked 2,214 people across the U.S. about their distracted driving habits. It reveals that more than 70 percent of drivers engage in some form of distracting activity while behind the wheel, and are not just limited to phone use.

Men are far worse offenders than women, the survey says. Men are 22 percent more likely to use their smartphones while driving, 74 percent more likely to drive with their knees, and 70 percent more likely to watch videos while driving. Men are also a whopping 260 percent more likely to check out pedestrians while driving. While I do not engage in these other distracted activities, I have to admit, with apologies to my wife, that yes, my eyes do wander to attractive pedestrians from time to time.

Of course, there are many other forms of distraction, too. About 60 percent of all drivers eat and drink (not alcohol) while driving. A Lytx study in 2014 found that drivers are 3.6 times more likely to crash while eating or drinking. Additionally, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates odds of crashing go up 80 percent and that 65 percent of close calls on the road are due to food or drink (non-alcohol) related distractions.

The study breaks down distractions by part of the country as well. The most common place for drivers to use a phone while driving is the western part of the U.S., while this practice is least common in the northeast. Living there myself, I know that most northeastern states outlaw using a phone while driving, which may be a contributing factor. While the west may lead in phone use, it is the least common area for driving with your knees. That dubious honor goes to the midwest.