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We’re driving rude – and BMW drivers are the worst

Guthrie Insurance

We're driving rude – and BMW drivers are the worst

We're driving more angry these days, and there are surveys to prove it (keep in mind next time auto insurance premiums start to increase).

A recent survey of 1,000 adults, commissioned by Insurance.com, asked about their rude driving behaviour. It found women were more likely to respond to driving frustrations by swearing, brake-checking or "flipping someone off" than men are.

But men have their own anger issues.

The survey found they are twice as likely as women to key someone's car or flash drivers with their high-beams just to be mean.

But if you want to target one specific group of drivers for rude driving – there are two other studies that point to BMW drivers being, well, jerks.

A couple of studies from the U.S. and U.K. appear to provide statistical evidence that BMW drivers are less likely to come to a full-stop where mandated and more likely to contribute to road-rage incidents.

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. "Fancy cars were less likely to stop," researcher Paul K. Piff told the New York Times, adding, "BMW drivers were the worst."

Drivers of BMWs and other high-status cars (including Prius hybrids) were also more likely to cheat at four-way-stop intersections, according to the research.

In the second study conducted in the U.K., motorists were asked to identify the make and color of the car from which they have most frequently suffered road-rage incidents, the London Dail Mail reports.

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.

Swearing and bird-flipping behaviours are most likely confined to the car, Insurance.com notes, quoting psychology professor Leon James of the University of Hawaii, who has researched driving behaviours.

"Different rules apply to different places," he says. "The car gives us the illusion of being alone and safe in our fortress. If we do something ugly or inconsiderate we can always get away. (It's) different when standing in line with others who are right there next to us."

Our socialization and culture also influence how we act behind the wheel, says James.

"Our driving behaviour styles are culturally determined. I call the back seat of the car 'road rage nursery.' That's when our driver education begins. We absorb how the parents or other adults drive and how they talk and complain behind the wheel," he says. "We also watch TV scenes and commercials where driving aggressively, fast and with plenty of verbal rudeness are portrayed as attractive and satisfying. So, getting behind the wheel changes the rules."

Additionally, driving is often viewed as a competitive activity, which makes people behave more aggressively than they otherwise would.

"Drivers have acquired the philosophy that in such competitive social situations it's alright to do whatever one can to beat out the others," says James, "whether it's the trip time, or getting into the fastest lane and switching around, or driving on the shoulder and getting ahead of everyone."

Here's what drivers admit to, with results broken down by gender: (continued.)

Honked at someone driving too slowly: 41 per cent

(Women: 39 percent. Men: 43 per cent.)

Swore in front of the kids while driving: 37 per cent

(Women: 44 per cent. Men: 30 per cent.)

Flipped someone off while driving: 29 per cent

(Women: 31 per cent. Men: 27 per cent.)

Brake-checked a car following too closely: 28 per cent

(Women: 30 per cent. Men: 27 per cent.)

Sped up significantly to prevent someone from passing you: 26 per cent

(Women: 25 per cent. Men: 28 per cent.)

Gone when it wasn't your turn at a four-way stop: 19 per cent

(Women: 18 per cent. Men: 20 per cent.)

Tailgated someone on purpose because he or she was going too slowly: 18 per cent

(Women: 21 per cent. Men: 16 per cent.)

Driven to the front of a merge line, then swerved and cut in: 12 per cent

(Women: 11 per cent. Men: 13 per cent.)

Stolen a parking spot someone else was waiting for: 11 per cent

(Women: 9 per cent. Men: 13 per cent.)

Driven in the breakdown lane around traffic: 10 per cent

(Women: 8 per cent. Men: 13 per cent.)

Sped up to block another car with its signal on: 9 per cent

(Women: 8 per cent. Men: 10 per cent.)

Chased after a car that cut you off so you could glare at/flip off the other driver: 9 per cent

(Women: 7 per cent. Men: 11 per cent.)

Swore in front of elderly in-laws while driving: 9 per cent

(Women: 9 per cent. Men: 10 per cent.)

Dinged someone's car in a parking lot and driven away: 8 per cent

(Women: 8 per cent. Men: 8 per cent.)

Turned on your high beams at an oncoming car just to be mean: 7 per cent

(Women: 4 per cent. Men: 11 per cent.)

Keyed someone's car: 5 per cent

(Women: 3 per cent. Men: 7 per cent.)

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