The BMW comes with just about everything one needs for a comfortable, luxurious ride around town. Except of course, well-mannered drivers.
The hypothesis -- largely based on callous sideswipes and general lack of pedestrian-friendly behavior -- that BMW drivers are total jerks has now been backed up with pure science. Two studies -- one in the U.S. and one in the U.K. -- give statistical evidence that those turbocharged drivers behind their BMWs are generally void of good will on the road.
The study was conducted in California where motorists are required to stop at crosswalks and let pedestrians safely cross the road (note to self). During the study, Piff and his team of researchers had a pedestrian appear on the edge of the curb of crosswalks as a car approached. When the pedestrian stepped into the road, a researcher recorded the driver's reaction to the pedestrian. Researchers did this with 152 drivers -- and the results were not so surprising.
They then went to observe intersections with four-way stops for one week, watching drivers cut off others when it wasn't their turn to go. They watched 274 cars, jotting down the sex and approximate age of the driver, as well as the age and apparent value of the cars.
So what did they find after all this examining? Drivers in the most expensive cars were more likely to jump their turn at the four-way rotation.
Piff told the NYT that 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."
"One of the most significant trends was that fancy cars were less likely to stop," Piff, said. "BMW drivers were the worst."
Prius drivers in the Bay Area were no better. "In our higher-status vehicle category, Prius drivers had a higher tendency to commit infractions than most," Piff said.
The traffic study was published in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in 2012.
A second study, conducted in the U.K., revealed much of the same: Motorists were asked to identify the make and color of the car that victimized them the most on the roads, and BMW came out on top, according to the Daily Mail.
Perhaps it's time to humble yourself and get that minivan.