Sunday, August 25, 2013

Luxury Car Drivers the Worst

A scientific study discovered luxury car drivers are the worst drivers on the road. The report was recently published in the Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences.

Most drivers and passengers of less expensive vehicles already knew this bit of invaluable trivia. But I guess it is nice to know a formal controlled study verifies the life-long observations of ordinary people and non-luxury car owners. The Institute of Personality and Social Research at the University of California at Berkeley conducted the study.

The results also verified the fact, which most of us know from personal experience, that drivers of fancy cars – synonymous for expensive – display the poorest road manners.

The University of California study was conducted on American soil. A similar study in the UK found that drivers of BMWs, Land Rovers and Audis (all expensive cars, for those who may have spent the past few decades in a carless land, if there is such a place) had the highest incidences of road rage.

In addition the UK findings revealed that drivers of high-end vehicles behaved the rudest on Fridays around 5:45 p.m. I guess they are all in a mad dash to escape the office and get to happy hour or beat the traffic to their weekend getaway.

One more interesting revelation came out of the UK report. The worst drivers were men 35-50 years old. No comment…

So my question is: What do drivers of expensive and fancy cars have in common that they act so badly?

I have no idea, but can speculate.

            Many drivers of expensive and/or fancy vehicles are rich. Rich people believe they are special and do not have to follow the rules that govern everyone else.

            If a person is not rich and bought an expensive car anyway, they are probably very nervous about meeting monthly payments. That makes them intolerant and impatient with others – especially other drivers on the road.

            Individuals who want to appear rich, even though they are far from the top 1% or 5%, often lease an expensive car. Something magical happens when they get behind the wheel. They believe everyone is looking at them, pointing, saying Wow, what a car, he must be cool – and rich. They start acting arrogant, bitchy and condescending towards others.

            Individuals in the throes of a mid-life crisis, which can occur at any age, buy or lease a fancy car to look cool, macho, younger, and richer. If others think they are cool, macho, etc., maybe they are…or can be…

            The men want to catch the eye of knock’em dead women who are probably their kids’ age.

It is interesting drivers of the largest SUV models were not singled out. My extensive driving experience indicates drivers of super-sized SUVs feel they own the road. And many of them are Moms. These women get behind the wheel of a tank, rev up the engine, hit the accelerator and are off…to pick up kids at school, ferry them to activities, shop for groceries, and accomplish other important errands modern suburban women of the 21st century are destined to spend their time doing.

Eventually I will need to replace my PT Cruiser.

Maybe I will join the mid-life crisis gang and buy a monster pick up truck. I will rule the road…


  1. The ones that scare me are the Humvee owners. They know they have you out weighed and out armored. You are the ant at their picnic.

  2. I like your "no comment" throwaway line. We women already knew that. Good post! :-)

  3. Amusing but mostly true. I did my own survey -- -- and found a few other trends. For example, Ford drivers speed more than Chevy drivers. Don't ask me why, I dunno. And drivers of white delivery vans are pretty scary. But I also can confirm (even tho' I'm a man) that, yes, males are the worst.

  4. Interesting post. Thanks. That age group of men, 35-50, is doubtlessly in the super-male stage of life, so it's not surprising.

    I wonder about older people. So many of us are at a point where we have more money than we did when we were on the way up and a lot of us can afford luxury cars. How do they drive.

    In my case (I'm 75), I was driving luxury cars for about 20 years (back and forth between Jaguars and Mercedes). I was always a careful driver during that time. Not a slow poke and not a speedster -- but just right, like the fairy tale porridge.

    Then, about 6 months ago, I traded in my current Mercedes for a 2013 Chevy Camaro SS. I got tired of my cars essentially driving themselves and feeling as though I were sitting on a pillow and being ferried around. I wanted to feel my car, know I was driving. And that's why at 75 I finally got the kind of car I wanted at 17.

    Then I put a new exhaust system on it and a much bigger air intake, thus boosting the horsepower even higher, not to mention the decibel level.

    Now I really have to concentrate on not driving like a 17-year-old. It's easy to get carried away in that car, especially when the sound system is blaring my beloved 50s DooWop.

    So, the lesson here is, maybe you need to watch out more for the old guy in the muscle car than the middle-aged guy in a luxury car.

  5. I love the idea of an Institute of Personality and Research -
    But your post has definitely proven one fact. It's the cars that are the problem. If everyone drove around in Fort Escorts, we'd all be out of danger.

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