Lots of generalisations can be made about you as a driver, with people stereotyping your driving style based on your age, gender and job role. The type of car you drive can cause others on the road to judge you too, with certains brands or even colours bringing a reputation with them.
The phrase “driving like a psycho” might refer to someone driving dangerously, but are some drivers more psychopathic than others? And do people really share characteristics with others who drive the same car brand as them? Are some of these reputations valid?
We wanted to find out, so we tasked 2,000 drivers with taking a psychopathy test – the scores of which indicate how likely it is that you’d show traits of psychopathy (including superficial charm, grandiose sense of self-worth, and a lack of remorse or guilt).
From these results, we were then able to calculate an average psychopathy score for different groups of drivers, categorised by the brand, colour and customisation of the car you drive. Depending on what you drive, the results might shock you!
Which Drivers Have The Most Psychopathic Tendencies?
The drivers with the highest likeability of being a psychopath were BMW drivers, with an average psychopathy score of 12.1 out of 36 . Interesting, as BMW drivers already have a negative reputation on the roads, with a quick Google search revealing that the term ‘Why are BMW drivers…’ is followed by results including ‘so arrogant’, ‘idiots’ and ‘so hated’.
Our study revealed that the average score on the psychopath test across all drivers was 6.6, so BMW drivers are likely to show significantly more psychopathic traits than the average driver, with scores of almost double the average.
BMW drivers were followed closely behind in second place by Audi drivers, a fellow German automotive manufacturer. Audi drivers averaged a psychopathy score of 11.7, meaning they are more likely to adopt traits including narcissism and pathological lying than others.
When it came to the drivers with the least psychopathic tendencies, Skoda drivers scored well below the average. They had an average score of just 3.2 out of 36, suggesting those driving a Skoda are unlikely to show signs of classic psychopathic traits, such as poor judgement or impulsivity, potentially making them calmer drivers on the roads.
|Rank||Car brand||Average psychopathy score (/36)|
Which Fuel Types Correlate With High Psychopathy Scores?
With electric cars becoming more and more common, and the UK aiming to ban the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2030, we also wanted to see if your fuel type of choice correlated with how much of a psychopath you could be.
Interestingly, those who drive an electric vehicle may be doing their part to help the environment, but they scored 16.0 out of 36 on average on the psychopathy test – the highest score of all the groups of drivers we surveyed, and edging closer to what the test defines as having ‘possible psychopathy’.
Hybrid cars followed in second position scoring almost 10 out of 36 (still well over the average score) and petrol drivers scored just 5.2 out of 36 on average, suggesting those currently sticking to petrol are unlikely to show traits of being a psychopath.
|Fuel type||Average psychopathy score (/36)|
Does Your Car Colour Define How Psychopathic You Could Be?
In addition to car brand and fuel type, there’s another obvious difference in the cars we drive: their colour. Could your choice of colour define how much (or little) psychopathic traits come through in your personality? We found that out too!
While gold cars are definitely not the most common colour of car you see driving down the motorway, it was drivers of this flash colour that had the highest average psychopathy scores in our study, scoring an average of 12.7 out of 36. Those who drive brown coloured cars followed closely behind scoring just over 12 on the psychopathy scale, and drivers of green coloured cars completed the top three most psychopathic drivers, according to car colour.
|Rank||Car colour||Average psychopathy score (/36)|
Personalised Number Plate Owners Are Almost Three Times More Likely To Show Psychopathic Tendencies
Finally, we investigated whether having a personalised number plate could affect how high you scored on the psychopath test. In December 2020, the DVLA reported that nearly 370,000 personalised registrations had been purchased using their online service.
Our research found that those who own a personalised number plate are almost three times more likely to display psychopathic traits than those who own a standard number plate. Those with personalised number plates scored 13.8 out of 36, on average, while those with standard plates had a psychopathy score of only 5.3.
|Number plate||Average psychopathy score (/36)|
Ultimately, no matter what car you drive, or your score on the psychopathy test, ensure you’re staying safe while driving so that your car doesn’t have to prematurely hit the scrap heap.
If our findings have left you wondering where you would score on the psychopath test, then you can take it for yourself here:
While the findings from our study are interesting, and none of our drivers surveyed scored highly enough to suggest they do possess clear traits generally exhibited by a psychopath, psychopathy is a condition that affects lives, and therefore should be taken seriously.
If you think you possess traits of psychopathy, or are worried about any of the themes or content discussed in this study, you can find more information and support at https://www.mind.org.uk/.
We partnered with 3Gem to survey 2,000 UK drivers and analyse the brand and colour of the car they currently drive, in addition to whether they owned a personalised number plate or not.
Each participant then undertook a twelve question psychopathy test inspired by Psych Central, giving each driver a psychopathy score out of 36, to reveal how many psychopathic tendencies they may have. The scoring system is detailed below:.
- 0-18 – no psychopathy
- 19 -26 – psychopathy possible
- 27 + – psychopathy likely
Average psychopathy scores were then calculated for car brands, car colours and types of number plate, to reveal which factors were most associated with psychopathic tendencies.
Survey conducted in November 2021.