Men choose speed over safety in cars

Despite new safety features like side curtain air bags making cars safer than ever, a new survey shows more than half of men don't see them as the most important factor when buying a car.

Just 48% of men considered safety the most important factor, compared with 60% of women. As many as 47% of men thought that speed, gadgets and image are more important considerations than safety when choosing a new car.

The information comes from research by Opinion Matters for national car supermarket Carcraft. Michael Guttridge, a business psychologist, says that it reflects the differences between the sexes.

"Research shows that generally men are more likely to be risk-takers than women and young men in particular more aggressive. They also express their aggression in direct ways and become more competitive when driving - hence their interest in fast cars," he said.

"Evolutionary psychology suggests that these behaviours would have helped a male survive and find a mate more easily."

So, perhaps it is not surprising that women have generally paid less for their car insurance given their priorities. How comfortable the ride is (58%) and a car's fashion credentials (5%) also emerged as key factors for women

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