Do Drivers Of More Expensive Cars Drive More Dangerously?

Tue 10th Mar 2020

It’s a widely held belief among many members of society that BMW and Audi drivers have a certain personality trait and now a study at the University of Helsinki appears to confirm that.

Whilst Motor Depot would like to go on record and claim neutrality in the argument, Professor Jan-Erik Lönnqvist is seeking to look for answers to the question ‘Why do BMW and Audi owners often seem to drive like idiots?’

While existing research appears to support the belief that those who drive expensive cars are more likely to break the law, Lönnqvist wanted to confirm whether it was the car that made people drive more aggressively, or whether certain brands attracted specific personality types.

 “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 said.

Researchers found that “the answers were unambiguous: self-centred men who are argumentative, stubborn, disagreeable and unempathetic are much more likely to own a high-status car such as an Audi, BMW or Mercedes.”

Lönnqvist said: “These personality traits explain the desire to own high-status products, and the same traits also explain why such people break traffic regulations more frequently than others.”

While the University research found that those with disagreeable personality traits were more likely to buy more high-status cars, the same findings reveal that those with conscientious personality traits were also drawn to high-status cars.

“The link is presumably explained by the importance they attach to high quality,” Lönnqvist explained.

“All makes of car have a specific image, and by driving a reliable car they are sending out the message that they themselves are reliable.”