If You Drive A More Expensive Car You’re Probably A Jerk, Scientists Say

by : Cameron Frew on : 25 Dec 2020 12:51
If You Drive A More Expensive Car You're Probably A Jerk, Scientists SayPA Images

If you drive a more expensive car, you’re probably a d*ck, according to a new study. 

We’ve all been there. You’re driving along in your trusty hatchback, right up at the speed limit – then, all of a sudden, a revving idiot of a driver overtakes in their respective pricey brief.


This isn’t to say all owners of lovely cars are the worst. However, there’s no doubt that some of them think they rule the roads, especially considering the results of this latest study.

BMW Pexels

Researchers from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, found that drivers of flashier cars are 3% less likely to slow down to let pedestrians cross for every extra $1,000 spent on the vehicle. These drivers seemingly ‘felt a sense of superiority over other road users’.

The study was conducted by asking volunteers to cross a sidewalk hundreds of times in order to assess the responses from drivers. While it also noted differences between stoppages for white and Black participants, the biggest predictor was the cost of the vehicle itself.

Audi Pexels

Published in the Journal of Transport & Health, it theorised: ‘Disengagement and a lower ability to interpret thoughts and feelings of others along with feelings of entitlement and narcissism may lead to a lack of empathy for pedestrians.’

In an earlier study from University of Helsinki, Audi and BMW drivers were the main culprits of the 1,892 car owners surveyed about their car, consumption habits, wealth and personality traits.


Jan-Erik Lönnqvist, professor of social psychology, said in a press release: ‘I had noticed that the ones most likely to run a red light, not give way to pedestrians and generally drive recklessly and too fast were often the ones driving fast German cars.’

He added: ‘We also found that those whose personality was deemed more disagreeable were more drawn to high-status cars. These are people who often see themselves as superior and are keen to display this to others.’

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Cameron Frew

After graduating from Glasgow Caledonian University with an NCTJ and BJTC-accredited Multimedia Journalism degree, Cameron ventured into the world of print journalism at The National, while also working as a freelance film journalist on the side, becoming an accredited Rotten Tomatoes critic in the process. He's now left his Scottish homelands and taken up residence at UNILAD as a journalist.

Topics: Life, Cars, Driving


ScienceDirect and 1 other
  1. ScienceDirect

    Estimated car cost as a predictor of driver yielding behaviors for pedestrians

  2. University of Helsinki

    The fast and the furi­ous: Research shows that own­ers of high-status cars are on a col­li­sion course with traffic