Reporting Gordy Leach
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Who do you think are better drivers — men or women? A new study says that when the snow flies, some men get into trouble.
A Purdue University researcher studied more than 23,000 accident reports.
He concluded that men, ages 45 and older, are more likely to crash their vehicles on icy and snowy roads. And the risk of crashing increases when these men are in a four-wheel-drive truck.
With the first snows of winter, it seems we have to re-discover how slippery snow and ice can be.
At a truck driving school in South St. Paul, students learn on the driving range — and in the classroom — how to keep these big rigs under control. Whatever the size of the vehicle, it all comes down to what happens at the contact patch, where the tire meet the pavement.
“It doesn’t matter how much ability you’ve got, if you lose that contact patch between your rubber tire and that concrete or asphalt road surface, you’re going to be around backwards in the ditch,” said Darrell Peterson pf the Interstate Truck Driving School.
Even though men older than 45 are likely more experienced drivers, the Purdue research suggests that four-wheel-drive trucks give them a false sense of security in winter driving. But while a four-by-four will get going better in slippery conditions, it will usually not stop or change direction as well as a lighter vehicle.
“So it’s really important that no matter what kind of vehicle you drive, you heed the advice we give all the time — decreasing speeds, increasing following distances,” said Lt. Eric Roeske, of the Minnesota State Patrol.
But for a simple take on this research, just ask a woman.
“Boys and their toys, they gotta go out and play around, they never grow up and they have to act like teenagers and goof off with their trucks,” said Lori Schmidt.
That Purdue research studied Indiana drivers.
It also found women drivers have more accidents on wet roads, but do better in ice and snow.