Aug. 4, 2010— -- Summer brings short skirts, bikini tops and low-cut blouses, all which apparently lead men to get into car accidents more frequently than in the winter, according to a new study.
That's right, 29 percent of men admit to being distracted by women's summer attire. Compare that to just 3 percent of women who had the same problem thanks to a man's choice of summer clothing, according to Sheilas' Wheels, a British car insurance company geared toward women.
The insurance company said that men made 16.4 percent more insurance claims during the summer than women.
And it's not just their roving eyes that lead to accidents.
Men are apparently more prone to road rage and aggressive driving behavior during these hot months.
"In the age of air conditioning, you might expect all drivers to be equally chilled out in the summer, but men are significantly more likely than women to make insurance claims during the summer months -- often as a result of temperature rage or wandering eyes," said Jacky Brown of Sheilas' Wheels. "We urge all motorists to keep their eyes on the road – regardless of outside distractions – and keep cool behind the wheel. A car is a dangerous weapon in the hands of a distracted driver, and a momentary lapse can lead to a lifetime of regret if a serious accident occurs."
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But this is just one study. Are men really that more dangerous on the road?
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety did a study of fatal accidents by gender from 1975 through 1998. Its findings: male drivers are consistently overrepresented in fatal crashes, with young males accounting for the highest accident risks.
"Contrary to the conventional wisdom of men, women are much safer drivers. Significantly safer," said Russ Rader, a spokesman with the institute. "They're much less likely to get into the risk-taking actions that lead to crashes."
Women are less likely to speed, less likely to drink and drive and more likely to wear seat belts, he said.
Then there is the question of summer.
Rader notes that more accidents, in general, happen in summer.
"July and August tend to be the months with the most fatal crashes," he said. "There are more people driving more miles in the summer months."
Distracted Drivers: Men Have Summer Accidents Because of Bikinis and Short Skirts
People tend to travel more miles in summer because they take vacations and just be on the road more often. Add alcohol-related activities such as barbeques and picnics and you have a recipe for disaster.
July 4 -- the most-American of days -- also happens to be the deadliest day of the year to take to the roads.
The institute looked at accident statistics from 2004 to 2008 and found that on average, 148 people died in motor vehicle crashes on July 4, more than on any other day.
July 4 was followed by Aug. 13 and July 15 (both averaging 143 fatalities) and New Year's Day (140 traffic deaths).
There are 114 traffic deaths, on average, for other days of the year.
The male-female driver split doesn't surprise Anne Fleming of Women-Drivers.com, a consumer car-dealer rating site.
"Research shows that men and women's brains process quite differently", Fleming said. "Generally speaking, men are more territorial and want quicker results, whereas women are more social and emotional."
In general, she said men are more aggressive and take a gamesmanship approach to buying cars and driving them. And then there is the distraction factor.
"Women," she said, "just don't have the same rubberneck tendencies when a skirt walks across the street."