Car hierarchy

How drivers react to different cars and drivers

How drivers react to different cars and drivers

How drivers react to different cars and drivers

Classic or ‘whacky’ cars, such as 2CVs, old Beetles and Escorts, may have an advantage in beating traffic queues as one fifth of drivers are more likely to give way to them, according to an AA-Populus poll of 17,629 motorists.*

However ‘car envy’ seems to affect some with one in five drivers admitting  they are actually less likely to give way to a 4x4 or expensive luxury car. Although perhaps surprising, it is the more affluent drivers who are most likely to snub the expensive cars.

'Boy racers'

Some drivers seem to actively want to slow down ‘boy racers’ as 5% admit that they would be more likely to drive slowly if the driver behind was wearing a baseball cap. Males are twice as likely as females to act in this manner.

Elderly

Almost half of drivers (47%) say they would leave more space in front if following a car being driven by someone elderly. Younger drivers and those living in the SE and SW are most likely to give more space. This has led to speculation that rather than “Baby on Board” stickers we may see “Granny on board” stickers in the future.

Learners

More worrying are the 19% who get impatient when following learner drivers and perhaps surprising the group most likely to get impatient are the third of young drivers. Perhaps breaking the stereotype, women are more likely to get impatient with learners than men. 

Other findings

When it comes to the hierarchy of cars the poll also found that:

  • Younger drivers are more likely to tailgate smaller cars.
  • Only 1% avoid parking next to better cars. A higher proportion of 24-34yr olds and those in Northern Ireland try to avoid parking next to expensive cars.
  • Just 2% try to keep up with or overtake sports cars. But 15% of 18-24 year olds do try to take on sports cars. This happens most in London and the NE.

It seems that a trilby wearing driver in a classic car will be given more slack than one wearing a baseball cap in a sports car or 4x4

Edmund King, AA president

Urban myths

Edmund King, AA president, said: “There are lots of urban myths about car hierarchies that we wanted to test. The research shows that some drivers are more considerate to others depending on the type of car or type of driver. It seems that a trilby wearing driver in a classic car will be given more slack than one wearing a baseball cap in a sports car or 4x4.

“Perhaps the most worrying trait is that 19% of drivers and one third of young drivers get impatient with learner drivers. Younger drivers, in particular, should have recent memories of what it was like driving with L plates. Our AA and BSM driving instructors do raise this as an issue.

“Although reassuring that almost half of drivers would not tailgate elderly drivers, it does beg the question as to why tailgate any driver? Driving too close to the car in front is the biggest danger on our motorways no matter what the age of the driver or indeed type of car.

“It was rumoured that many sales reps would not park next to better cars in Motorway Service Areas although our survey doesn’t really back this up as only 231 drivers (1%) admitted trying to avoid parking next to better cars.

“Our advice is to forget the age of driver or type of car and remember we are all humans who should be treated with respect rather than rage on the roads.”


(21 January 2014)

*17,629 adults, aged 18+, responded to the AA-Populus online panel between 12-17 December 2013. Populus is a founder member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.

 

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