Drivers of Expensive Cars Are Less Likely to Stop for Pedestrians, Study Says

Drivers with fancier vehicles are less likely to stop by 3 percent for every extra $1,000 their car is worth, a new study found

Driving a classic racing car at speed.
Photo: Getty

Drivers who don’t want to be considered a jerk on the road may want to think twice before purchasing an expensive car, according to new research.

According to a new study published in the Journal of Transport and Health, researchers from the University of Nevada found that people who drive fancier vehicles are less likely to share the road with other users and empathize less with pedestrians.

The study concluded that those who drive more expensive cars are less likely to stop and let pedestrians cross the street. The likelihood that the driver will slow down for pedestrians decreases by 3 percent for every extra $1,000 that the lavish vehicle costs.

Researchers assessed the theory by shuffling volunteers in and out of crosswalks hundreds of times, documenting each time a car came by and then analyzing the driver’s behavior.

The study theorized that drivers who were operating cars that cost more money may have “felt a sense of superiority over other road users,” the study explained, which would cause their “lack of yielding behavior.”

Porsche 911 Carrera S

The volunteers included one white and one black man as well as one white and one black woman, and researchers found that cars, regardless of cost, yielded more frequently to women and white people (31 percent for both) compared to men (24 percent) and non-white pedestrians (25 percent).

Researchers added that the cost of the car was still a “significant predictor” of whether the driver would yield to pedestrians, and the study noted that the lack of empathy for pedestrians could stem from “feelings of entitlement and narcissism” as well as “disengagement and a lower ability to interpret thoughts and feelings of others.”

Last month, a Finnish study found similar behavior in men who drove fancy cars.

The study, done by the University of Helsinki, concluded these drivers to be “argumentative, stubborn, disagreeable and unempathetic” and typically “more drawn to high-status cars.”

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