According to a report written in the American Journal of Public health, female drivers are 47 percent more likely to suffer serious injuries than men.
The report said that, on average, women are shorter, lighter and tend to sit in different positions than men. Seatbelts and other safety devices may not fit the same.
On the other hand, the Center for Auto Safety said the study is flawed, because researchers focused on older cars made from 1998 to 2008, which often don't have the same safety features as the newest models on the road.
"The study would have a lot more value if it were limited to 2000 and later model year vehicles to make sure all vehicles had female-friendly airbags," said Clarence Ditlow of the Center for Auto Safety.
Even so, there are some things a more petite driver can do to stay safer behind the wheel:
- Pick a car best-suited for you.
- Sit at a safe distance from the air bag. (That means at least 10 inches from the steering wheel)
- Make sure the seatbelt fits comfortably and securely.
Now back to picking a car. Consumer Reports compiled a list of vehicles that rate highly for shorter drivers.
They include the Acura MDX, Honda Accord, Nissan Maxima and the Subaru Forester.
The Consumer Reports list also shows the worst vehicles for shorter people as well as the best and worst vehicles for tall people.