First aid after a car accident: Women are at higher risk
Photo: Tashi-Delek/Getty Images
Women are almost twice as likely to be locked in a vehicle involved in an accident as male drivers.
Drivers are therefore often more seriously injured.
This is shown by a British study that evaluated data from over 70,000 hospital patients.
Although men are statistically more likely to be involved in serious accidents, only nine percent were trapped in an accident vehicle, compared to 16 percent for women.
They also suffered more hip and spine injuries, while men suffered more head, face, chest and limb injuries, according to the research, published in the journal BMJ Open.
The authors identify differences in driving style and physique as the causes: women sit closer to the steering wheel, while men tend to sit further back in the driver's seat.
Differences in body shape also played a role.
"We know that women's pelvises are much wider than men's, even taking into account height and weight," Lauren Weekes, of University Hospitals Plymouth, told the Guardian newspaper.
Crash test dummies used to simulate crashes resembled "more of a 12-year-old prepubescent girl than an adult woman."
More female crash test dummies
The study shows that these physical features make it difficult for many women to get out of the car wreck.
"Women, for example, have a much higher rate of pelvic injuries and it's harder to get yourself out of a car if you've fractured your pelvis," says Weekes.
The study could help vehicle manufacturers improve vehicle design and safety features to reduce injury rates in both sexes, the authors hope.
For example, crash test dummies would have to be more gender-specific and also have biological characteristics of women.
At the moment they are modeled more on the average man.
The doctors hope that the authorities will realign their safety tests based on the new findings.
While this is already being discussed in the EU, it has not yet been considered in Great Britain.
"Female car occupants need to be protected just like male occupants," says one of the study's authors.