It's official (sort of): women are better drivers than men. That's according to insurance 'black box' maker Wunelli, who have sifted through thousands of miles of data to come up with the findings.

The verdict is based on a number of different factors - as calculated on the black boxes - including whether drivers break speed limits, brake harshly or drive during more dangerous hours.

Females, says Wunelli, are more likely to keep within speed limits than men by 12 per cent, for example, and drive a reported 5 per cent less on average.

Those of the fairer sex also stamp on the brakes less - with instances of 'harsh braking' 11 per cent lower than males.

Women drive at night 28 per cent less than men, too - the time of day insurance companies would rather not have people on the roads - and are 7 per cent more likely to drive on 'known' roads.

Overall, Wunelli suggests women are "20 per cent safer" than men - demonstrating, they say, the need for the segregated gender insurance policies now banned by the EU.

"Motor insurance rates to date have been based on estimations, trends and averages gathered and analysed over many years," said the firm's chairman Sandy Dunn.

"When the EU Gender Directive comes into play, insurers will need to rely more heavily on the postcode of the driver and the car type being driven to determine the premium. For some women this won't be a bad thing, but others could see their premiums rocketing."

This change, reckons Dunn, will make telematics policies more appealing.

"Up to now, because premiums for women drivers have been relatively low compared to those for men, the take up of telematics based products amongst female drivers has been slow, comprising around 30% of all telematics policies.

"We believe this will change as some women, typically those that are younger and driving more powerful vehicles, start to see more of a stark price difference between a conventional motor policy and a telematics based policy when they shop around come renewal time."