While it may be open to debate whether men or women are generally safer drivers, men over age 45 are much more likely to crash their vehicles on icy and snowy roads, according to a new study.

Those risks, notable as winter approaches, are even greater if the older men are driving four-wheel-drive pickup trucks, Purdue University researcher Fred Mannering found.

“There may be a sense of invulnerability with four-wheel-drive trucks leading the drivers to not slow down as much as they should,” Mannering said. “The reality is that four-wheel drive gets you up to speed faster in snow and ice, but it doesn’t help you stop any quicker.”

In addition, men under age 45 are more likely to get into serious accidents on dry roads, perhaps because of overconfidence, the study of single-vehicle accidents involving Indiana drivers indicates.

Female drivers of all ages, meanwhile, lose control and crash on rain-slicked roads most often because of their failure to sense reduced friction on wet pavement, Mannering’s analysis of more than 23,000 accident reports determined. But the crash rates involving women decline on snow and ice, Mannering said.

“I was somewhat surprised by the findings,” said Mannering, who is associate director for research at Purdue’s Center for Road Safety.

The finding that not all groups of Indiana drivers underestimate the dangers equally as pavement becomes slicker is probably representative of drivers nationwide, he said.

Older men driving pickup trucks were 81 percent more likely to be involved in serious accidents on snow and ice than older men driving other types of vehicles, the study said.