Bad At Driving? You Could Have Low Testosterone Levels!
Hormones and Cars
How’s your driving?
I have recently wrecked my car. I was driving late at night and it went through a fence almost backwards and I ended up trapped in a substation in the middle of nowhere.
I was stressed, highly fatigued and probably low on testosterone.
Other than a bit of a bruised ego nothing particularly bad happened apart from having to tow my car to the junk yard, the airbag didn’t even go off but it wouldn’t start again.
However, studies are suggesting that bad driving could be related to hormones…
While it is proven that women are actually safer drivers than men, their skills behind the wheel could be down to fluctuating levels of estrogen and progesterone. 
Whereas men depend on steady levels of testosterone which means they tend to take more risks and drive more quickly.
One thing to note is that a fatal car accident happens around the world every 25 seconds and it is estimated that there are around 1.24 million car accident related deaths per year.
According to neurology scientists, for ladies, they find tasks such as parking much easier when their estrogen levels are at their lowest. 
Therefore, with less estrogen available the female body can become more attuned with the testosterone they naturally produce (albeit on lower levels than men).
This higher level of testosterone, or rather being in tune with more testosterone is linked to an increased awareness of space and distance. 
If you see a woman struggling to park her car it is highly likely that she will be ovulating and thus her soaring levels of estrogen have blocked her link to testosterone.
There’s isn’t really an excuse for men though, unless they’re low on T.
Levels of progesterone start to rise half way through a woman’s menstrual cycle and in turn their testosterone levels deplete.
Progesterone is a hormone that can make women feel more relaxed and in turn slows down their reactions.
This can result in being much slower and less co-ordinated around junctions, roundabouts and traffic lights.
Further studies have found that one way to combat alertness is to chew gum.
Yet, it wasn’t just alertness that was improved, because cognitive scoring also saw an improvement which is due to an increase in concentration.
Chewing gum works by increasing oxygen flow and stimulating areas of the brain which are responsible for identifying movement. 
That could be spotting cars turning at a junction or a cyclist trying to undertake in heavy traffic.
Surges in estrogen can also affect the way you identify shape. Increased levels of estrogen have an affect on the left side of your brain, this prioritizes verbal skills over spatial skills.
The results from a particular study concern me, and that is if a woman is pregnant their soaring levels of estrogen affected their section of the brain known as the putamen which concerns learning.
This means a negative affect on the way a woman can learn and remember routes while driving – a major problem my girlfriend has.
As women age their estrogen depletes, as such their testosterone levels (although about 20 times less than men’s) start to have more of an influence on their driving style.
This can result in a more assertive and confident person behind the wheel.
So, if you are wondering why some days you are great at driving and other days you can barely get out of the parking lot unscathed, it could be down to how much testosterone is in your system and how much risk taking you are willing to explore. 
Take home points
Okay, in some respects a higher level of testosterone can improve spatial awareness, judging distance and confidence.
In some arenas we could then say that men are ‘better’ drivers, or at least may be able to park more effectively or judge spaces.
However, some of this can be controlled or at least improved by chewing gum.
The one thing to note is that if we are to end an argument on overall safety, women come out on top with 77% car related deaths being the cause of men driving.