AUSTIN, Texas — April 1, 2014— The Center for Handedness Research in Albuquerque, New Mexico, together withThe Zebra, has released the results of a decade-long study proving that left-handed people are better drivers than their right-handed counterparts. The study, funded by The Zebra, a digital car insurance agency and comparison shopping tool, measured the driving habits and accident rates of some 1,500 drivers over the course of 10 years and determined that left-handed drivers cause fewer accidents than their right-handed equivalents. The study’s author, Glenn Haversham, says there might be several factors contributing to the superior driving skills of left-handed drivers.
“Because we drive on the right in this country, left-handed drivers may be used to a kind of constant revision of their instincts, keeping them more on their toes and ready to react to sudden threats,” says Dr. Haversham, who specializes in handedness research. “In addition, cars are designed with the right-handed driver in mind—think especially of the gear shift. This allows right-handed drivers to become complacent, while lefties are forced—as they are so often—to rely on their less dominant hand.”
The study first measured only the number of accidents a driver caused, but in recent years methodology became even more precise as usage-based insurance monitors hit the market. Haversham and his team adapted the study to reflect the intricacies of driving habits. “Using the usage-based monitors, we looked at how often left-handed drivers slam on the brakes, drive between midnight and four a.m., and even how precisely they navigate a three-point or left-hand turn,” Haversham explains.
This study corroboratesearlier researchproving that left-handed people learn to drive more quickly and successfully than right-handers, and could likely be added to a pile of mounting research showing that left-handers actually have the advantage in many areas of life, includingsports performanceand politics: five of the last seven presidents have been left-handed.
The study could have long-reaching impact in terms of car insurance rates for southpaws, explains Joshua Dziabiak, COO of The Zebra, an online comparison shopping tool for car insurance. “Our left-handed customers have seen their rates drop immediately,” he says.
Center for Handedness Research
3210 Los Alamos Blvd.
Albuquerque, NM 87104