Are BMW drivers the worst drivers?

Interesting | November 27th, 2015 by 13
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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 …

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?

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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.

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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?

13 responses to “Are BMW drivers the worst drivers?”

  1. John says:

    Old people are the worst drivers.

    • Henry Ting says:

      Let me see….your name is John and you are a male and just grown feathers on your wings and wants everybody getting out of your way while you zoom down road.

    • RCoop says:

      Not good to generalize. But, you have a point. The rules, at least in UK, are far too lenient in favour of older people that perhaps should not be on the road. A compulsory system where they get annual tested, at their own cost, would be beneficial for all!

  2. LucyPup says:

    Thank you for beginning to define the term ‘Bad Driver’. Given the setting (radical leftist city and university involved in the production of this propaganda, (Berkeley), what else would I expect as a result? These people have neither shown nor proven anything, with the exception of their own bias. The study was probably conducted on-campus. Time for some political incorrectness.

  3. Giom says:

    In my country, I’ve noticed that whenever a BMW driver did something stupid, it was a used car. I think there’s a difference in culture between new buyers and used buyers.

  4. Icebreakerr says:

    no they are not AUDI ARE

  5. Henry Ting says:

    Another pea-brain reporting trying to group an entire category and declare it as absolutes.
    If the author have better observations, the car have nothing to do with his generalization.

  6. jason bourne says:

    Subaru WRX drivers are the worst. Most of them drive with a chip on their shoulder and feel like they have to prove something to other drivers.

  7. Me says:

    Rubbish. Statistically, BMW has more sales than other luxury brands so there will obviously be more total bad drivers for the brand that sells more vehicles.

    Also, let me pull my dashcam footage. It’s California. It’s most definitely not limited to luxury cars. California drivers are among the worst in the country when it comes to following traffic laws and regulations. I nearly die once/week walking my dog from some asshat blatantly running a red light, turning while I’m in the crosswalk (that is signaling to walk), or pulling out of shopping plazas or driveways at warp right onto the sidewalk.

    I’m trying to think how many times it was a BMW.. can’t recall. I do remember Jaguars, plenty of Hondas, beat up old POS’s, minivans, Landrovers.. mostly japanese cars.. but of course I would expect that with so many on the road.

    • Mklasse says:

      I agree. Also, luxury cars are more stand out than non luxury cars, so when they are making a mistake, more eyes are on them. There’s a brand new G11 7 series on the busy road, and 20 road users surrounding the car would be like “look, the shiny new bmw!” and then the driver make a mistake, then 15 out of 20 managed to take a picture and tweet “Idiot bmw driver just ran a stop sign”. Whereas there is a brand new honda civic on the very same road, and only attracts 5 road users, and when the driver make a mistake, maybe only 1 people even bothered to tweet it, that is also without stating the brand of the car, just “idiot just ran a red light!”.
      That aside, people love to put stereotype on anything, race, religion, gender, etc. So those who are maybe jealous of rich people, or have a killer employer like miranda in devil’s wear prada, who happens to be rich, or have a grudge against someone, who happen to be rich, would start looking for “the rich people mistake” and generalize that all rich people would behave certain way. The truth is, there are assholes on every social class, gender, religion, etc, we just amplified the crowd that we may have a beef with.

  8. Matt Stokes says:

    As the saying goes, you can prove anything with statistics, except the truth.

  9. Senne says:

    A really good article, because indeed I think it’s ridiculous to determine one brand in particular which has “the most bad drivers”. What does that even mean?? I think the biggest problem in traffic is people that wait at a stop sign for 20 minutes because “there’s too much traffic, so I can’t get across the road”, and behind them there are another 10 cars who are stuck because of one REALLY bad driver! Those people cause traffic jams, so those are the people we should all consider “bad drivers”, not the ones that step on the throttle, and before they know drive a bit too fast. Big deal, at least there aren’t another 10 cars that are stuck behind them!

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