Study finds BMW drivers really are jerks
They are saying prius drivers are better behaved than BMW Drivers, This just makes me cry
Drivers of BMWs frequently come in for anecdotal criticism for habits on the road that are perceived as aggressive.
Now, a couple of studies, one in the U.S. and another from the U.K., appear to provide statistical evidence that BMW drivers are, to be polite about it, complete jerks.
In the older study, by researchers at the University of California, BMW drivers were far less likely to stop for a pedestrian who had just entered a crosswalk, the New York Times notes.
"In our crosswalk study, none of the cars in the beater-car category drove through the crosswalk. They always stopped for pedestrians," researcher Paul K. Piff told the paper. He added that not only were "fancy cars were less likely to stop," but also that "BMW drivers were the worst."
Drivers of BMWs and other high-status cars (including Prius hybrids) were also more likely to cheat at four-way-stop intersections, according to the research.
In the second study, in the U.K., motorists were asked to identify the make and color of the car from which they have most frequently suffered road-rage incidents, the Daily Mail reports.
The study of 2,837 motorists found men between the ages of 35 and 50 driving blue BMWs were most likely to be reported as having engaged in road-rage behaviors such as aggressive driving and swearing.
Men who drive blue BMWs are more likely to be aggressive than motorists in any other car, a study claims.
And the peak time for drivers to get angry is 5.45pm on a Friday as they fight the rush-hour followed by the dismal Monday morning commute.
The likeliest road rage culprits are men aged 35-50 with blue BMW cars, the study of 2,837 motorists found. Drivers also reported run-ins with owners of Land Rovers, Audis, Subarus and Vauxhalls.
Blue was seen as the most aggressive colour, followed by black, silver, green and red.
Men said they lost their temper behind the wheel seven times a month on average, while women got angry on only three occasions.
Drivers most often expressed road rage by shouting and swearing, followed by erratic driving and obscene gestures, the study for discount website VoucherCodesPro revealed.
The poll also found, unsurprisingly, that Monday morning and Friday evening proved to be the most stressful times, when motorists are queuing to get to and from work.
Motorists were asked the pick the make and colour of car from which they have experienced the most incidents of road rage - and blue BMWs came out on top.
George Charles of VoucherCodesPro said: 'During peak periods of traffic, whether it be the Monday morning school run or the hectic rush hour on a Friday evening, it is all too easy to allow the common manifestations of road rage to get the better of us as motorists.
'This research, although slightly humorous in some of its findings, does indicate an important point.
'Road rage is not something to be taken lightly and these results show that many motorists need to remind themselves that sometimes losing your temper whilst driving can result in serious altercations, assaults, and collisions that cause injuries or worse.
Jokes about BMW drivers being, on average, somewhat less than courteous are fairly common. They often run along the lines of, "Despite its good brakes, a BMW will usually stop with a jerk." Sometimes the language is more colorful.
Now scientific research supports the unwritten and broadly circulated theory that people in BMWs are lacking in road manners. Paul K. Piff, a researcher at the Institute of Personality and Social Research at the University of California, Berkeley, has conducted a study linking bad driving habits with wealth.
The traffic study, part of a larger body of research relating behavior and wealth, pitted pedestrians against passing motorists. It was published in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in 2012.
In California, where the study was conducted, state law requires motorists to stop at crosswalks when pedestrians are present, allowing them to cross the road. Mr. Piff said his team selected a specific crosswalk to observe, then had a pedestrian appear on the edge of the curb as a car approached. As the pedestrian stepped into the road, a researcher marked down the driver's reaction to the pedestrian. This was done with 152 drivers.
The team also watched a four-way-stop intersection over a week, noting how likely drivers were to cut in front of others when it was not their turn to go. In their observation of 274 cars, the researchers found that the more expensive ones were more likely to jump their turns in the four-way rotation, Mr. Piff said.
In addition to describing drivers' behavior in both locations, the researcher was to indicate the sex and age of each driver as well as the age and appearance of the cars, with a "1" signifying beat-up, low-value cars and a "5" given to top-of-the-line models from the likes of BMW and Mercedes-Benz.
Mr. Piff said about eight of every 10 cars "did the right thing."
"But you see this huge boost in a driver's likelihood to commit infractions in more expensive cars," he said. "In our crosswalk study, none of the cars in the beater-car category drove through the crosswalk. They always stopped for pedestrians."
The study also found that male drivers were less likely to stop for pedestrians than were women, and that drivers of both sexes were more likely to stop for a female pedestrian than a male one.
"One of the most significant trends was that fancy cars were less likely to stop," said Mr. Piff, adding, "BMW drivers were the worst."
In the San Francisco Bay Area, where the hybrid gas-and-electric-powered Toyota Prius is considered a status symbol among the environmentally conscious, the researchers classified it as a premium model.
"In our higher-status vehicle category, Prius drivers had a higher tendency to commit infractions than most," Mr. Piff said.
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