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Dr. Helen

BMW Owners Really Are Jerks, Study Finds

August 17th, 2013 - 5:24 am

I was reading radio show host Tom Leykis’s site and came across this post, “BMW drivers really are jerks, studies find,” and took a look:

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. ”Fancy cars were less likely to stop,” researcher Paul K. Piff told the paper, adding, “BMW drivers were the the worst….”

The study 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.

As the owner of a blue BMW, I resent this statement. My experience is that many different types of people in cars can be aggressive drivers, from women in SUVs to guys in pick-up trucks.

What is your experience?

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Top Rated Comments   
I steer clear of any vehicle sporting a COEXIST sticker.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
I drive a Jeep and the cars I stay away from are Priuses, they do 0 to 60 in 15 seconds, or is it 20?

All kidding aside, I try to stay away from drivers on the phone, whether talking or texting. And drivers that are weaving in and out of traffic. And hoarders that have their back seat piled high with "treasures". And women putting on make-up. Am happy to drive along side anyone (trucks, cars, motorcycles) paying attention to the road.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
No one single driver determines a likelyhood, but given 40 years of driving both cages and motorcycles, my list of most offensive drivers by vehicle are:
1. Any vehicle with Massachusetts plates
2. Bicycle (but only if the adult rider has the full $3000 biking uniform with codpiece, not kids)
3. Volvo
4. BMW
5. Long-haul 18 wheeler
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (115)
All Comments   (115)
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Ride a bike around exclusively for a few days/weeks/months... and you'll discover every other person driving a car is a jerk sitting in their mobile living room while watching TV and talking on their 250HP cell phone. I hardly think Beemerites could be very much worse than the average moron behind the wheel.

Ever notice how car ads always show their vehicles all alone on wide open stretches of empty highway with no one else around? That's the car driver mindset. Make/model not important.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
Normally, the guys who buy bmw's are just guys who buy it for fashion. Once they get some money by hook or crook, they blow it on a bmw becos it is the fashionable car to have. Such guys are bound to be jerks.

What I have seen is that most educated people who evaluate things and buy and do not buy for fashion tend to buy Lexus or Mercedes. In New Jersey, bmw seemed the default vehicle and it was mostly by small business owners. In Seattle which is full of techies, I found more of Prius and Lexus and less of BMW. In general, techies sway less towards fashion and more towards an evaluated buying decision. So going by that trend and your image of being a person who makes an evaluated buying decision rather than one based on fashion and brand image, I guess your car should have been a Lexus or Mercedes. Oh, and the colour which techies chose seemed to be more of white and silver and no other colours.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
Well, my jacka$$ ex drives a black BMW convertible, so that would tend to support this study's findings.

And while I don't recall him rushing through crosswalks with pedestrians, I did hear from a mutual friend that he'd plowed through a jaywalker. In the ex's defense, he was probably drunk and/or texting his other girlfriend at the time and thus he didn't see the guy. :p
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
Just a general observation:

In the Motorcycle world, BMW riders are NOT the jerks, although they do tend to come off a bit elitist. Top Jerks is an 'honor' that is shared by sportbike riders in general and Harley riders.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
BMWs pack more features (many I find to be of dubious value) into their cars than Honda does. Also, ALL cars designed for performance require more maintenance than cars that are designed for more sedentary lives. Which is why Acuras spend more time in the shop than Hondas, even though they're engineered by many of the same folks.

It is therefore more appropriate to compare cars within their class. Acuras to BMWs, sport sedans to sport sedans. That said, Acuras are reputed to require less maintenance the BMWs, but are they as much fun to drive? Or do the Acura (except the NSX) drivers do "boring things" because they have boring cars? :p
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
While a BMW may be the worst car to be in front of, clearly the Honda CRV is the worst car to be behind. Self-righteous maroons dawdling along wherever they go, but particularly prone to doing so in the fast lane. I think it has become the car that a certain kind of timid, generally liberal, person gets now that the Volvo 240 is no longer made.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
WE have a Honda CRV, and are conservatives with libertarian sympathies. We like how reliable the Hondas we have bought have been so far. My husband is arthritic and was looking for a bigger car that didn't cause pain when he drives, and test drove the CRV,owned by a private individual, and bought it. He is far,far from timid, up until his hand got messed up, he used to drive his big yellow Honda CBR 800 to Boeing and back, on the graveyard shift. He is also the man who put an actual toilet seat on the back of the Acura we used to have, with lettering on it, "FLUSH THE JOHNS", back when the Kerry/Edwards campaign was going on. So not EVERYONE in a CRV is a self righteous, timid, liberal moron. I miss Volvos myself, looks like the company is dying in the hands of the ChiComms. A nice, solid car, my persnickety father would drive nothing else.
33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
I am sure most of you have heard the line: The difference between a BMW and a porcupine is the pr!ick is on the outside of the porcupine.

Seriously though, if you are going to spend that much money on transportation go all the way and buy a Mercedes. Hands down a much finer car. And it handles just as well if not better than the equivalent 'bimmer'
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
I just drove my S 500 through all 319 curves of the Dragon in NC/Tenn. Had to wait on some bikers and a 325i several times.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
As someone who has recently bought an Audi, I think the car itself has something to do with it. High end German cars drive so well that you feel like you can do things that would be dicey in another car (and are probably right.) I have tons more grip, pickup and stopping power than in my old Buick. That means I can put my car in the place that I want with much more precision and much quicker than I ever could before. So, in response, I do it, because I can.

From this side of the windshield, what I see is people who are unaware, unconcerned, and indifferent. They don't know where they are going, don't know how to get there if they did, and aren't particularly concerned about getting there in one piece. When I'm driving my car, I am driving it, not munching on a McDouble while I talk on the phone, fiddle with my GPS, have to dive for my exits at the last minute, and all the other myriad things that make me thank the German engineers who designed my brakes.

Here in Dallas, I think I would put Mercedes over BMW. For one thing, it's really not the young men driving them here, it's middle aged women (especially the BMWs.) The real Own the Road types here are douches in pickups with huge lift kits, and idiots in luxury SUVs like Escalades and Navigators.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
For a few blissful months in the 1990s, while I was married to my first husband, a used car dealer, I drove a 1972 Mercedes SEL. WOW!!! I will never forget what a quality car it was. It had individualized climate control, in a 1972 car! It didn't use any oil, the moon roof was fully functional, as was EVERYTHING ELSE, and it was over 20 years old. To me, at least in its older cars, Mercedes is over EVERYTHING. And I have lately made it a point to buy German made EVERYTHING wherever I can't find American made, and all the German stuff DOES seem to hold up well, including our German toaster and our 30 year old Bosch mixer (which we recently lost in a fire). The Germans are very good at engineering and building things that people need and want.
33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
For 20 years I've been a driver of Jaguar's and my choice cars have been the the XJ6. I have to agree that (although Anecdotal) the daily evidence I see is that the BMW driver has a very heavy foot for the gas pedal, an addiction to cutting in and out of traffic and the attraction of constantly being in the wrong lane.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
In UK old BMW's are an acronym for Black Mans Wheels.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
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