According to the Detroit News, a recent study by the folks at the University of California Berkeley has shown that drivers of luxury cars, BMWs in particular, have shown to be among the worst drivers on the road. This isn’t a particularly new discovery, as BMW drivers have a sort of stereotype for being bad drivers, whether true or not. But does this theory actually have merit?
The study done by researchers at Berkeley was conducted by observing how drivers acted at stop-and-go intersections. During their observations, luxury car drivers, more so BMW and Mercedes-Benz drivers, consistently ignored the stop signs, only slowing instead of stopping and disregarded crossing pedestrians. These are all of the typical stereotypes of bad BMW drivers. It’s surprising they didn’t go searching shopping mall parking lots for BMWs parked in two spots at once.
But calling BMW drivers bad drivers because they drive BMWs is simply mistaken. There are so many variables that go into determining a good or bad driver. How does one even judge a good driver? Is it someone that drives perfectly within the rules or someone who can handle a car better than most or is it someone who is consistently courteous to other drivers and pedestrians? It’s most likely someone that is a decent combination of all three, but what about drivers who are maybe a combination of only two of those aforementioned attributes? Or what if you just caught someone on a bad day? So what would make BMW drivers bad?
Are BMW drivers bad because they break the rules or are they bad at handling the car or do they just not care about fellow drivers and pedestrians, feeling as if they rule the road? And depending on which one, why would it BMW drivers, or luxury car drivers in general, that are consistently poor drivers? I think the stereotype is to bust on rich, pompous and arrogant people, the kinds of people who are usually seen driving expensive European cars. But what about used BMW drivers? They still drive BMWs but are often not very rich at all, as there are zillions of BMWs that can be had for only a couple thousand dollars. You’re looking at a used BMW owner who isn’t even close to rich. Are we bad drivers, despite the fact that we aren’t rich, just because we have a blue and white roundel on our steering wheel?
I think it’s a stupid stereotype and one that has absolutely zero merit, regardless of what researchers may say. It’s a skewed study anyway, most likely with predetermined bias, as the metric for which to measure a good driver cannot absolutely be determined. Having had commuted two hours a day on the Garden State Parkway in New Jersey, which is notorious for being basically the automotive equivalent of the Hunger Games, I’ve seen my share of horrendous drivers. In my three years of a daily commute filled with psychotic NJ drivers, I don’t think you can honestly point at one brand in particular as a brand of bad drivers. I’ve been nearly killed by people in BMWs, Honda Odysseys and Chevy Aveos. So I honestly think that any study showing any brand to be owned by bad drivers in general is completely ridiculous. Though, what do I know, I’m just a mindless BMW driver.
So what do you think? Do you feel as if there’s any merit to this claim, or any bad driver claim toward any other brand? What are your experiences with bad drivers?