Identifying the 10 Worst Drivers on the Road Today
Feb 27, 2001
The Bottom Line Safe driving means being able to spot and avoid problem drivers before they become a problem.
Okay, I need to preface this list a bit. Yes, I fully realize that this list is a generalization. But it is a fully accurate generalization, and one that has yet to be proven wrong. What is that? You say you are one of the drivers on this list but you don't fit the description? I hate to tell you this, but yes you do.
Now, this list is broken down by automobile type. The reason is simple … each car out there attracts a specific type of person, and all persons owning a specific car (say, a Toyota Camry) fall into a driver type. This is fact. Now, you may argue that this is impossible, since there exists a huge disparity between all of the Camry drivers by location, age, sex, race, etc. True, but the personality is the same. Thus a 40 year old Inuit woman from Anchorage will fall into the same rough parameters of driving style as a 22 year old African American male from Phoenix.
Aha! I see where you think you've got me now. What about the driver who changes cars? The one who used to drive a Ford Taurus and who now drives a Saab? Surely they are the same driver, no?
The driver has changed his fundamental driving type, and like the snake shedding its skin to grow a better fitting one, the driver has to shed his old car for one better matching his new, evolved diving personality. Also, the car itself will often dictate the driving style. All things being equal, a person who used to drive a Hyundai will drive differently if they now own a Porsche.
So, you just have to accept that my findings are accurate, and that if you drive one of the cars below, I am painting a very Rockwell-esque picture of you.
Now, how did I come up with this list? Well, nearly 20 years of driving the streets, alleys, off-road trails, freeways and dirt roads of Southern California have made me an expert. No other people drive as much as we do, and we learn things that others can't. This, plus an amazing ability to conveniently compartmentalize people into neat little categories makes my list dead-on balls accurate (it's an industry term). My list breaks down driving style by the following categories:
1/ Aggressiveness, (Agg) which measures how likely the car/driver will be to cut you off, challenge you for position on the freeway, run a red, etc.
2/ Attention, (Att) which measures whether the driver actually knows where they are on the road, where they are going, and how likely they will be more interested in adjusting the stereo or talking on their phone than realizing that their lane ends.
3/ Courtesy, (Crt) which measures the likelihood of your getting the "I'm sorry" wave from the driver after a particularly bad screw up, the "thank you" nod when you let them in, or if they will allow you in front of them when you desperately need to change lanes.
4/ A-hole quotient, (AQ). This simply measures the degree of how big an A-hole the driver is overall, and transcends the driving. This covers whether the driver sneers at you, or if they give you the finger even after you give them the "thank you" wave. It is a broad category, and is the most subjective of them all.
Each category is rated on a ten point scale, with 10 being the worst (i.e. the most aggressive, lowest attention, least courteous and biggest A-hole). Okay, now you have the background. Shall we begin?
Good. The Fez Monkey complete guide to the ten worst drivers is as follows:
10: Ford Explorer. Agg: 3 Att: 4 Crt: 2 AQ: 4
By and large, Explorer drivers are decent people, who just seem to lose their heads now and again. However, the driving population is severely split between suburban women/soccer moms and young first-jobbers. The soccer moms are the ones that keep the Explorer from being ranked higher in the list, as they tend to severely lower both the Aggression and Courtesy quotient. Young fist jobbers (generally mid-20's white guys who just landed their first sales rep gig and want to show off) use the explorer as a way to advertise their testosterone, and really have no idea of how to handle a larger vehicle. However, they do not yet have the engrained A-holiness to be overly aggressive, nor the insurance to allow them to be.
9: VW Beetle. Agg: 2 Att: 6 Crt: 4 AQ: 4
Young girls, young homosexuals, whites, and Asians tend to be drawn to this car. Don't ask me why, but it is true. It is probably because of the design of the car, and the colors available. Whatever, this is a remarkably popular vehicle for the young and hip. The type of people who tend not to pay attention to the road or their place on it because they are young and still a bit stupid, and who have more attitude than sense. However, these people are also basically harmless on the road, because although they are completely unaware of their surroundings, they are not malicious. If you see a Beetle, you know to beware, because it will inevitably change lanes without signaling, or suddenly make a right turn. But at least you may get a wave.
8: Acura (Any Model). Agg: 5 Att: 5 Crt: 7 AQ: 5
Acuras have become the chosen car of the wanna-be cool. They are just expensive enough to keep most first jobbers away from them, but not expensive enough to be considered a status symbol any more (that is the place for the Lexus now). For a long time, Acuras were the choice of young, rich, Asian kids, but now they are pan-ethnic in appeal. The loss of status in the name-plate means that now, all those kids who want to seem cool can get one. Acura drivers like to trick the car out by blacking the windows, lowering the car, and installing the thumper system so you could hear one coming from a mile away. Acura drivers tend to drive like they want to make a point about how cool they are, and they often are so preoccupied with the bass levels of their stereos, that they end up drifting into your lane. Also, drivers of Acuras tend to adopt the nearly-flat reclined position, where they can just barely reach the steering wheel and pedals, sacrificing vehicle control for image. The drivers tend to be young, teens and early 20's, use a lot of hair gel, and wear sunglasses even at night.
7: Chevy Camaro. Agg: 7 Att: 5 Crt: 6 AQ: 7
Ah, the Camaro. The last stand of the Mullet. This, once proud example of American street domination has become such a parody of itself it is a wonder Chevrolet hasn't recalled every one built since 1974 and burned them to end their embarrassment. Today, Camaros are almost the exclusive realm of the Mullet. You've seen these people: Surly, white, blue-collar, semi-literate, backwoods 20-somethings with the short on top, long in back hair style, and the thin "molestor" moustache. Camaro drivers have an undying loyalty to the rock music of Dokken and Iron Maiden, and a intense dislike of any non-Mullet. Beware the Camaro driver. Aside from the high likelihood of a major breakdown, the drivers are angry, and display their anger on the road. They are angry because Dokken is gone. Angry because they can't find a sale on Pabst Blue Ribbon. Angry because their girlfriends dumped them for their best friends on the Jerry Springer show last week. Angry because the freaking water pump needs to be replaced. And angry because that Toyota Celica just whipped by them like they were stuck in cement. Yes, beware the Camaro driver. Although they are not life threatening, they have the innate aggression of too many cheap beers and unemployment -- a dangerous combination.
6: Ford Expedition. Agg: 7 Att: 6 Crt: 7 AQ: 7
Ford Expedition drivers are Ford Explorer drivers gone bad. Actually, they are Explorer drivers who no longer want to be associated with the kind of car driven by soccer moms. These divers are the ones who are now junior sales partners, and have to celebrate by getting a bigger truck to house their bigger egos. They are almost exclusively white, early 30's, with a cell-phone permanently attached to their ear, and no concept of anyone else on the road. It's not that they are unobservant, it's that they just don't care about you. Their car is bigger than yours, and they have an important sales meeting to get to, so you'd better get out of their way. Their attitude is the driving force for their aggression on their road (they NEED to get to that meeting, you don't). Their lack of courtesy is often the direct result of the fact that they don't see you. Again, not that they can't see you, but that they won't see you because they have to get to that meeting! If it weren't for the pressure of their meeting their numbers every quarter, these guys would be more relaxed, and lower on the list. But they have that sales contest where first prize is a new Cadillac, second prize is a set of steak knives, and third prize is that they are fired, so you had just better get out of their way.
5: Ford Mustang. Agg: 8 Att: 5 Crt: 8 AQ: 8
The Mustang driver is what the Camaro driver wants to be. Hipper, richer, better dressed, and with prettier girlfriends than his Mullet-cousin, the Mustang driver is the adolescent boy gone wild. The Mustang driver comes in every ethnicity, although there tends to be slightly more white and Latino drivers than others. Teen angst and a near insane need for a cool image are what make this driver what he is. For him, every inch of the road is a private race-track. The only reason the Attention levels rate comparatively low for this driver, is that he doesn't want to ding his car, cause he spent all weekend polishing and waxing it to impress the chicks when he cruises on Friday night by the clubs. Otherwise, the Mustang driver would be in the top three.
4: Mercedes Benz (Any Model). Agg: 7 Att: 8 Crt: 8 AQ: 8
Now we are reaching into the really bad drivers, and the reason has nothing to do with youth or inherent anger. It has to do with dead presidents, and lots of them. There is a phenomenon that starts with the Expedition driver, and which shows a direct correlation between money & status and bad driving. The reason is the self-importance and overinflated ego of the driver. After all, they are VPs of major companies and are used to drones kissing their butts every day for pennies per hour. They get used to it and they like it. Soon they'll be damned if they will tolerate any sort of equality on the road, and expect that jerk in the Saturn to defer to their obvious superiority and status. This means that Mercedes drivers have no qualms about cutting you off, turning left from the far right lane, pulling out in front of you, or coming to a dead stop to read a billboard with no forewarning. And never expect any admission of guilt or acknowledgement of you as a driver. The only reason the MB driver is not in the top three is similar to the Explorer -- many of the drivers are women, who are less aggressive and A-holey than the men.
3: Jeep Grand Cherokee. Agg: 8 Att: 8 Crt: 8 AQ: 9
Whatever good qualities the Expedition driver has is lost when it comes to the Jeep driver. Similarly, whatever bad qualities the Expedition driver has are magnified in the Jeep driver. And, remarkably, there is no difference between men & women who drive these cars. Both sexes have an amazingly high self-involved attitude, and show no inclination that they share the road with anyone else. It is almost as if Jeep dealers have a screening process to prevent selling their cars to anyone who doesn't reach some minimum A-hole level. Jeep drivers consistently forge their own path by merging into a space that isn't there, forcing other drivers to either collide with them or move out, and like Expedition drivers, are always on the phone. The only consolation we can take over this scourge is that we know that their Jeeps will suffer some major mechanical problem or other within two years of purchase, and that these drivers will become very good friends with their mechanics.
2: Jaguar (Any Model). Agg: 9 Att: 9 Crt: 9 AQ: 9
This was actually a surprise, given the amount of women drivers of the Jaguar, but this car has reached that rarified air of the wealthy who just don't give a damn about the rest of us. After much consideration as to why they rank so high it finally hit me: They are the same group as the Mercedes drivers, but not as sophisticated. Mercedes drivers are A-holes, no doubt, but there is almost a refinement to them that makes them A-holes with class. Jaguar drivers are like nuveau-riche A-holes, who need to be bigger A-holes than Mercedes drivers just to prove they belong in the same circles. Where Mercedes drivers cut you off because they don't care about you, Jaguar drivers will cut you off to make the point that they are better than you. That difference is what catapulted them over the competition to number two. Many is the time I have seen a Jaguar driver swiftly change lanes in front of an innocent, then stare at them in the rear-view mirror as if to challenge the person they just cut off. Their arrogance is boundless, and has earned them this placement
1:BMW (Any Model). Agg: 10 Att: 10 Crt: 10 AQ: 10
All hail the champion! BMW drivers are bar none, the worst around. They have managed to achieve that elusive combination of disdain, money, attitude, disregard for others, and self-importance that no other drivers have. BMW drivers don't just not care about you … they HATE you. They hate having to share the road with any other driver. They hate those who drive what they consider sub-standard cars (i.e. any car not costing over $40,000) because they are losers. They hate those who drive Mercedes, Lexus, etc because they are stuffy or old. They hate those who drive SUVs because they take up too much room. They hate those who drive Porsches, Corvettes, and other big-bicks sports cars because those drivers don't drive fast enough. They even hate other BMW drivers because they can't stand that anyone else has their car. BMW drivers are generally white 40-somethings with a wife and three kids, plus a mistress on the side. They tend to be largely lawyers or investment bankers, whose philosophy is that the world is here to serve them, and it is doing a bad job of it. They mistreat and underpay their illegal Honduran or El Salvadoran housekeepers, and consistently mispronounce their names. Their children are named Kaitlyn or Brittney or Chase or Brendan. They were all in either fraternities or sororities, play golf badly, and revere Tiger Woods for being a credit to his race. They are the scum of the earth, and are truly deserving the title of the worst drivers around. If you want to have fun, do yourself a favor and cut a BMW driver off without acknowledging him. Then when he honks his horn or gesticulates at you, give him the bird. The audacity of your display will send him into a rage the likes of which will provide you with hours of enjoyment as you recall how many shades of purple his face became as he cursed you out for soiling his planet with your existence.
There is one surprise omissions from this list that bears noting. The Cadillac driver. After all, who hasn't been caught behind one of these American-made behemoths, driving at a leisurely 25 MPH with the left-turn blinker flashing even though the driver has no intention of turning? Yes, these drivers are annoying, but they didn't make the list because their poor driving is due to being old. There is no malice in them. They didn't cut you off because they hate you, but because they didn't realize they changed lanes. They aren't driving that slowly because they want to, but because they have to. Their only high score would come in the Attention category, where they would get a 10, but everything else would be a 1.
So, there it is. I am sorry if I offended you, but if you are on the list, you deserve it. I am also sure you want to know what the Monkey drives. I used to drive a Toyota 4-Runner (number 16 on the list), but now drive a Subaru (number 25). My scores show a slight tendency for aggression (score of 4) and lack of attention (a score of 3), but with a courtesy level of 2, and an AQ of 2. We may like to jostle for position on the road, but we are aware of our surroundings and will always signal and give the wave.