Type "BMW drivers are" into Google, and this is what pops up:
Is the world bitter about their success? Maybe. But two studies surfaced this week that back up the search engine.
The first, by Paul K. Piff, a researcher at the Institute of Personality and Social Research at the University of California, Berkeley, connects two types of insufferable driving habits to really nice cars.
For the first habit, researchers observed a crosswalk. When a car approached the crosswalk, a person stepped into the road, and researchers recorded how drivers reacted. (California state law says a driver must stop if a pedestrian is in a crosswalk.)
For the second part, researchers watched a four-way intersection, and recorded how likely cars were to cut in front of others when it was not their turn.
At both posts, researchers gave the cars number values, with older-looking, scuffed-up cars getting a "1," and newer, luxury cars getting a "5."
They found that drivers with newer luxury vehicles were more likely to both ignore pedestrians and cut ahead in the four-way rotation.
"[Y]ou see this huge boost in a driver’s likelihood to commit infractions in more expensive cars," Piff told The New York Times. "In our crosswalk study, none of the cars in the beater-car category drove through the crosswalk. They always stopped for pedestrians."
The second study was a poll conducted by the discount website VoucherCodesPro in the U.K. It asked 2,837 British drivers to answer questions about the make, model, and color of their cars, and how often they experienced road rage.
The conclusion: The biggest ragers were men, age 35-50, with blue BMWs.
So Google was right. But there is one twist: "In our higher-status vehicle category, Prius drivers had a higher tendency to commit infractions than most," Mr. Piff told The Times.
The reason, thinks Piff: The study took place in northern California, where hybrid vehicles are seen as status symbols.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- How our botched understanding of 'science' ruins everything
- How U2 became the new Nickelback
- The science of sex: 4 harsh truths about dating and mating
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- The secret to handling pressure like astronauts, Navy SEALs, and samurai
- Russia is stealthily threatening America with nuclear war
- 13 Urban Outfitters controversies
- Save the world... by changing how you pee
Subscribe to the Week