Woe on Wheels: Car Models with the Rudest Drivers
The nation’s rudest drivers tend to gravitate towards sporty models and brands, from cheap, fast cars to powerful luxury sedans.
Driving levels across the United States have largely returned to normal since lockdowns began in March. Unfortunately, this means that rude drivers are back on the roads in full force. These ill-behaved drivers have what seems like the unique ability to ruin the mood of an otherwise pleasant drive in mere seconds.
Some rude drivers seem all too eager to flip the bird or to honk annoyingly (and pointlessly) in bumper-to-bumper traffic. While this behavior is unpleasant and, arguably, uncalled for, other forms of rude driving behavior are not only dangerous, but they’re also illegal. It’s one thing to encounter another driver gesticulating angrily, but it’s quite another to find one who relentlessly tailgates or who races through an intersection just after the traffic light goes red.
How often, though, do we pay attention to the type of car driven? Do drivers of certain cars feel more entitled than others to behave rudely on the roads? Insurify’s data science team was interested in investigating whether certain cars attract drivers who engage more frequently in the most egregious — and illegal — forms of rude behavior on the roads. To determine the car models with the rudest drivers, the data science team at Insurify turned to their database of over 2.5 million car insurance applications.
- How rude are America’s drivers, on average? Across all car makes and models, 23.1 in every 1,000 drivers have one or more citations for a driving infraction categorized as “rude.” The average selling price of cars in the United States in 2020 is $37,851 based on Kelley Blue Book’s analysis.
- Rude drivers tend to prefer sporty cars. Price points differ greatly between many of the cars on this list. However, most have one trait in common: except for the Honda Element, the cars with the rudest drivers tend to be sportier-than-average sedans. While the average sedan on the roads in America has about 120 horsepower, the ten cars with the rudest drivers have a combined 230 horsepower average. Perhaps the extra horsepower gives these drivers a dangerous sense of entitlement on the roads — conversely, the rudest drivers may seek out cars with more powerful engines.
- Notable brand preferences. Many of the nation’s rudest drivers also tend to gravitate toward sporty, luxurious brands; Acura, Audi, and BMW models represent 6 of the 10 cars with the rudest drivers.
- Car models with the nicest drivers. The politest drivers tend to prefer larger cars than those preferred by the rudest drivers. Drivers of the Nissan X-Terra, Honda Ridgeline, and the Land Rover Range Rover have only half as many rude drivers as average.
To identify the car models with the rudest drivers, the data science team at Insurify, a car insurance comparison website, turned to its database of over 2.5 million insurance applications.
When applying for insurance, drivers disclose information such as the car they drive and their recent driving history, including past accidents and moving violations. Insurify’s data scientists classified the following driving violations as the most extreme forms of rude behavior on the roads: failure to yield violations (failure to yield the right of way, failure to yield to a pedestrian), failure to stop violations (failure to stop for a red light, school bus, or stop sign), improper backing, passing where prohibited, tailgating, street racing, and hit-and-runs. Insurify’s data science team calculated the proportion of drivers with one or more prior rude violations on their record for each car model. From this, they selected the 10 car models with the highest share of rude drivers.
MSRP and horsepower data for all 2020/2021 models were collected from the manufacturer’s websites. Data for discontinued models were collected from the Kelley Blue Book for the model’s final production year.
The 10 Car Models with the Rudest Drivers
10. Audi A4
- Drivers cited for rude driving behavior: 44.8 out of 1,000
- MSRP (base model; 2021): $39,000
- Reported horsepower: 201
The Audi A4 rounds out the ten cars with the rudest drivers. It’s responsive, with excellent riding and handling, a powerful engine, and a sporty feel overall. Perhaps this compact luxury vehicle is a little too fun to drive for some, who may be inclined towards overly aggressive and rude behavior on the roads. Drivers of this compact sedan have a particularly bad case of rude and dangerous behavior towards pedestrians. In fact, citations for failing to yield the right of way to a pedestrian are a whopping four times higher for Audi A4 drivers than average.
9. Honda Element
- Drivers cited for rude driving behavior: 45.4 out of 1,000
- MSRP (base model, used; 2011): $8,269
- Reported horsepower: 166
This boxy-looking Honda, discontinued by the manufacturer in 2011, has gained something of a cult following over the years. Fans of the Honda Element may not be so pleased to find, however, that this car tends to rack up citations for rude driving behavior. Drivers of this unique-looking SUV are particularly poor at yielding the right of way to other drivers. In fact, they’re twice as likely to have a failure to yield violation under their belt compared to the average driver.
8. Hyundai Veloster
- Drivers cited for rude driving behavior: 46.0 out of 1,000
- MSRP (base model; 2021): $18,900
- Reported horsepower: 201
While the Hyundai Veloster is “fun to look at and fun to drive,” according to the manufacturer, this peppy and affordable hatchback might not be the most fun to encounter while driving. Ranking eighth in the nation for rude driving behavior, the Veloster also has the sixth-highest share of speeding tickets. Hyundai Veloster drivers are especially bad about yielding the right of way to other cars. The incidence rate of this rude driving violation is 2.3 times as high as for average. Clearly, Veloster drivers need to rein in their on-road behavior.
7. Acura ILX
- Drivers cited for rude driving behavior: 46.4 out of 1,000
- MSRP (base model; 2020): $25,950
- Reported horsepower: 201
Ranking seventh on the list, the Acura ILX has more than twice the rate of rude drivers as the average car model. The ILX may be Acura’s least expensive model, but it’s still advertised to have “athletic agility” and “an impressive power-to-weight ratio.” Some ILX drivers seem to have been a little too emboldened by this sporty, compact sedan’s performance, behaving dangerously and inconsiderately towards other drivers.
6. Acura TLX
- Drivers cited for rude driving behavior: 47.0 out of 1,000
- MSRP (base model; 2021): $37,500
- Reported horsepower: 272
The second Acura to make the ranking, the TLX ranks sixth on the list with one of the highest rates of rude drivers compared to all other car models. Larger than the ILX, with a more powerful engine and a wider array of options and features, the Acura TLX seems to attract a similar proportion of rude drivers to its counterpart. Particular rude behaviors that TLX drivers engage in most frequently are passing violations and failures to stop for stop signs, which occur 81.7 and 72.1 percent more frequently than average, respectively.
5. Toyota Celica
- Drivers cited for rude driving behavior: 47.6 out of 1,000
- MSRP (base model, used; 2005): $4,430
- Reported horsepower: 140
The Toyota Celica’s last model year was 2005, but the car has remained in circulation ever since. When first released, the Toyota Celica was marketed as a sports car, but now it’s considered a reliable and affordable first car for young drivers. Its appeal to this demographic may explain why the car ranks within the top 5 on this list: young drivers tend to engage in more reckless and aggressive driving behavior than their older counterparts. This, combined with the Celica’s sportiness, albeit outdated, may embolden younger drivers to behave dangerously and thoughtlessly towards other drivers. In fact, drivers of the Toyota Celica are twice as likely to have a passing violation under their belt.
4. Subaru WRX
- Drivers cited for rude driving behavior: 49.7 out of 1,000
- MSRP (base model; 2020): $27,495
- Reported horsepower: 268
Drivers of the Subaru WRX seem to be some of the most ill-behaved drivers on the road. Not only are drivers of this compact sports sedan the fourth-rudest out of drivers of all other car models, but they also have the highest share of speeding tickets and the third-highest share of at-fault accidents. When it comes to rude driving behavior, Subaru WRX drivers are particularly guilty of improper lane violations and passing violations, which occur 2.5 and 2.3 times as often as for the average driver. Needless to say, it seems wise to keep a healthy distance from these notoriously ill-behaved drivers.
3. Audi A5
- Drivers cited for rude driving behavior: 54.3 out of 1,000
- MSRP (base model; 2021): $45,045
- Reported horsepower: 261
The Audi A5 has the third-highest proportion of rude drivers compared to all other car models. While it’s flashier, more expensive, slightly larger than the Audi A4 (which ranks tenth on this list), the A5 is similarly owned by ruder-than-average drivers. In general, Audi drivers are considered some of the worst tailgaters, and while rates of tailgating in A5 drivers are about average, these drivers engage in other dangerous, rude driving behaviors. In particular, Audi A5 drivers are some of the worst about yielding the right of way to pedestrians and about respecting red lights and stop signs: rates of these violations in A5 drivers occur 8.8, 1.5, and 1.5 times as frequently as for average drivers, respectively.
2. BMW 7-Series
- Drivers cited for rude driving behavior: 56.2 out of 1,000
- MSRP (base model; 2021): $86,800
- Reported horsepower: 335
The BMW 7-Series has the second-highest share of rude drivers compared to all other car models. About the 7-Series, BMW claims that “inside certain beauties, there’s a beast waiting to be unchained.” Unfortunately, some drivers of this luxury sedan embody this imagery entirely too literally. BMW 7-Series drivers engage in unchained behavior towards other drivers significantly more often than average, with more than twice as many rude driving citations than the national average.
1. BMW 4-Series
- Drivers cited for rude driving behavior: 58.9 out of 1,000
- MSRP (base model; 2021): $45,600
- Reported horsepower: 255
No other car model boasts a higher percentage of rude drivers than the BMW 4-Series. Like many of the cars on this list, the 4-Series fits perfectly with the stereotype that flashy, sporty cars attract the rudest drivers. Drivers of this luxury vehicle have nearly 2.5 times as many incidences of rude driving behavior than the average driver. Like drivers of the Audi A5, they’re also terrible at yielding the right of way to pedestrians and obeying stop signs and red lights. In BMW 4-Series drivers, these three violations occur 9.7, and 1.9, and 1.7 times more frequently than average, respectively.
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