An insurance company has analysed information recorded by its in-car black box devices to identify the characteristics shared by Britain’s least risky drivers.
Maybe you'll think twice before cracking another "women drivers" joke
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If you find yourself driving along behind a middle-aged woman in a Honda, pay close attention: you might just learn something.
On the other hand, if there’s a twentysomething man in a white Audi ahead of you, extra caution could be the order of the day.
At least, these are the conclusions that could be drawn from a new survey of driving characteristics and abilities carried out by insurer Admiral.
The company has attempted to use data from its “black box” telematics devices to paint a picture of the most and least sensible motorists.
Black box insurance policies require special computers to be installed in customers’ vehicles to assess the likes of speed, braking and cornering.
This information is transmitted back to the insurer and better drivers are rewarded with lower premiums.
Admiral's LittleBox telematics team has been using its data to work out what the best and worst drivers have in common.
They found that the least risky driver is a female software engineer in the 46 to 50-year-old age bracket.
While the best driver can be found behind the wheel of a two- or three-year-old automatic red Honda, living in East Anglia.
At the other end of the scale, male motorists aged between 21 and 25 who drive a white manual Audi score worst when it comes to sticking to speed limits, braking smoothly and cornering sensibly.
Battle of the sexes
Move over gents - let the ladies show you how it's done
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Overall, women drivers scored better than men – Admiral says this is in part down to the fact that male motorists tend to cover more miles and were therefore more likely to be involved in accidents.
Admiral spokesman Lloyd Badran says: "Our black-box insurance provides lots of fascinating data showing driving trends across the country.
"While it's interesting to create these in-depth profiles of good and bad drivers, which we can do with great precision, there's also a very useful side to this.
"Black box data allows us to provide fairer prices to customers that reflect their driving ability rather than being based on the risk profiles of similar types of people."
"Safe drivers deserve rewards"
Badran adds that Admiral believes safe drivers “should be rewarded for their efforts”.
The firm found that drivers in Scotland and the West Midlands tended to be the worst performing, according to its data.
As well as in the east of England, the most careful motorists were found in Liverpool.
Black box insurance policies have become increasingly popular over recent years, thanks largely to the opportunity they give high-risk drivers to demonstrate they are a good bet for insurers.
Call to cut tax on policies
Take-up of black box cover has been especially strong among younger motorists, who tend to face the highest premiums due to the fact that more accidents are recorded by this age group.
A young driver who can show insurers they are responsible and safe behind the wheel by agreeing to have a black box installed in their car could see a substantial drop in premiums.
Industry figures published last year showed there were well over 300,000 of these policies in force in the UK.
The British Insurance Brokers’ Association has called on the government to encourage the adoption of black box insurance by abolishing insurance premium tax - currently levied at 9.5% -- on such policies.