Which Car Brand Attracts The Worst Drivers?

Volvo owners have been the butt of bad jokes for decades, but are they really the worst drivers on the road? Not according to the results of Private Fleet's latest national driver's survey: the car buying service polled more than 3500 Australian drivers in an attempt to crown the best and worst car manufacturers based on the amount of accidents their owners cause.

Bogged 4WD picture from Shutterstock

The Fleet Driving Survey 2013 asked respondents a series of questions including whether they have ever sent a text message behind the wheel, how many accidents they have caused (both serious and minor) and how often they get angry or frustrated behind the wheel. The data was then divided into the car type each respondent drove.

While the much-maligned Volvo still made it into the top five, Audi, Renault and Jeep drivers were all determined to be worse (Volvo ranked #4, followed by Suzuki). Despite only making up 1.4 per cent of the poll, Audi drivers managed to top the list as the worst on the road. Land Rover, Mitsubishi, BMW, Hyundai and Skoda drivers, meanwhile, were crowned the country's best.

Of course, not everybody agrees with the results of this survey; most notably Audi drivers.

"No way Audi drivers are worse than Volvo ones," claimed one disgruntled member of the OzAudi website. "For a start, we don't wear an 'old man's hat' while driving. At least I don't." (Perhaps someone should point out that headwear, fashionable or otherwise, does not increase your ability to drive.)

Interestingly, the survey also found that people earning over $200,000 per year are 60 per cent more likely to get angry behind the wheel than those on under $40,000. Also, women drivers are around 40 per cent more likely to be involved in an accident per kilometre driven (it says here).

2013 Private Fleet Driving Survey {via Daily Telegraph]


    This completely disregards the things that make people bad drivers:

    - Not indicating
    - Changing lanes without looking
    - Not understanding simple road rules
    - Driving too slow
    - etc.

    These questions are also impossible to ask in a survey, as the offenders would typically deny all of these.

      Actually, it does through the principle of data agglomeration. In short, if a single driver likes to change lanes without looking, random chance may still mean that they don't have an accident in their lifetime. If 20,000 people who all drive Audis don't look when they change lanes, the sheer numbers flatten out the randomness and mean that the group as a whole will have more accidents than a group of randomly-chosen drivers the same size.

      Frankly, however, these numbers are smaller than I'd like to see for a representative sample. I'd be iffy about trusting any such group of less than about 500 people, which was only met in this survey by Toyota drivers.

      Where it falls down is where sample sizes are small or where groups self-select. For example, if more Land Rovers than other brands were owned by country drivers who rarely took them into traffic, you'd expect them to have fewer accidents than an equally-sized group of Range Rover drivers who rarely go West of Hunters Hill. Similarly, if Skoda drivers spent less time on the road than Honda drivers (maybe because high rates of public transport use meant that drivers were incentivised to buy a cheaper car), you'd expect fewer accidents.

      Still, the most worrying thing about the survey was the three people who'd had 13 or more accidents in the last three years, all of whom said that all the accidents were their fault. I assume that one of those was my mother.

        Pfft, yeah. Keep trying to calculate the worth of a human spirit, Mister SCIENTIST

        Yes I agree, these types of media reports never quote confidence intervals or other measures of statistical power.

      Agree on all of those accounts.

        You can't talk about my mother that way!

        Unless you're one of the people she hit. Which, if you live on the Central Coast, you probably are.

    The correct result from this should be Commodore and Falcon drivers. Seriously, I started pointing it out to people and they didn't believe me but now every time we see a Commodore or Falcon they're usually being stupid.

      Exactly, and these drivers would deny every one of the points in the survey...

      especially those orange falcons, they nearly always suck lol

      You'd have to look at the numbers. Being such popular brands, there would be a higher number of people driving them. Each brand of car would attract it's share of good and bad drivers, therefore the number of bad drivers driving those cars would be larger. Also, more noticeable due to confirmation bias.

    But these are also incredibly popular cars on Australian roads so it stands to reason that there'll be higher percentage of stupid people driving them.

      I wouldn't say Audi, Renault, Jeep, Volvo, and Suzuki are "incredibly popular". In fact, in terms of market share they're probably near the bottom. Holden, Ford, and Toyota should have the highest number of stupid drivers with this logic (and in my experience, they do).

        Yeah I meant to reply to the guy talking about Holdens and Fords having more stupid people than other makes. Bummer.

    Commodore drivers are the worst by any definition. By far the most aggressive, unpleasant and least skilled. Check out the cars involved in any crash on the Western Freeway, there will be a Commodore as at least one of the cars. At least where there are multiple Commodores, at least they are taking out other agro and ignorant drivers.

      Of course one of the cars will be a commodore - half the cars on the road are commodores! That's like saying "at least one of the cars will be white". It's just probability. And due to the human tendancy of Confirmation Bias, you're always going to notice the bad commodores, and ignore all the good commodores and bad non-commodores.

        And almost all accidents are due to the actions of somebody with a driving licence (or who have held one at some time). It only goes to show that driving should be limited to small children and other people who have never held a driving licence.

        I wonder how much of the result is due to self-selection bias, i.e. maybe Audi drivers are just more honest and BMW drivers more oblivious.

    When I'm being tailgated or overtaken when I'm doing the speed limit its always a commodore or some tradie.

    When I'm stuck behind someone who is going 10-20 under the limit its always a KIA, Hyundai.

    When some blind idiot cuts me off or turns without indicating is always a dam Toyota (usually a Camry)

    and when we are merging into a busy road the BMW, Merc or Audi is always the jerk that goes right to the end of the slip lane and pushes in.

      Bloody tradies! Don't all of them just make you so mad? And don't get me started on office workers or artists!

      Yes on all accounts!
      Especially the last one. It's always the luxury Euro jerks that have a sense of entitlement that their time is more valuable than anyone else's, and they must go first.

      Every dick head and their dog owns a VE Commodore SS.

    Well, 3500 is an extremely small number for a credible statistical analysis to begin with. Whether it represents the general population is highly doubtful. Start with a few hundred thousands, and then we are talking.

    Then there is the point, that many people in this country have several cars, often from different manufacturers, in the household, two seems to be a fairly common thing. If that one driver switches cars, does he suddenly change his/her behavior (obviously not), so how is that going to impact the insights. Etc...

    PS: In the statistic's favor - Audi drivers have had a terrible reputation in Germany over the past ten or so years. Go on any Autobahn, and the guy rushing in on your rear, flashing lights at 180 kph is likely going to have four rings on the front.

      n=3500 is a perfectly good sample size. If it's a nationally representative sample of 17+ year olds, you should have less than 3% margin of error with a 95% confidence level.

        Rubbish. Individual number within the survey matter more than the total in this case, because it splits up the number of 3500 into no less than 25 subgroups. You cannot make any kind of reliable statement about the attitude of Skoda- or Great Wall-drivers based on asking ten or three (!!) drivers respectively. Your confidence-levels and error-margins go out of the window right there. Someone further up indicated 500 as a decent minimum sample size for subgroups, and I agree. Because of a disproportionately shared market that alone results in a final number of people polled in the high tens of thousands, hence the number I threw out there.

          The figures quoted refer to the analysis performed on the 3500, of course the accuracy will decrease once it's divided into sub groups. 500 is an ideal sample for a subgroup as the MoE is around 5% at that point, but rapidly decreases below that.

          It is acceptable, although not ideal, to use subgroups as low as 35-40, but with all of this type of research any differences need to be tested for statistical significance before they're reported on.

    What about drivers wearing hats? Typically being senior citizens, on their way to the local lawn bowls club? In a Volvo, of course...

    Perhaps Audi drivers are just the most honest.

    That's all this survey proves.

      Yup, that's pretty much all I got from this 'study'.

      They essentially asked a bunch of people "do you display poor driving habits?" and the only reasonable outcome is that only the honest will answer "yes" and be labelled as menaces.

      I'm sure that the young mum in the Canyonero who overtakes me like the mailman from 'Funny Farm' on a narrow, winding, hillside street every morning would consider herself faultless ... and it wouldn't matter what she was driving.

      Seems to be a complete waste of time.

    The Land Rover result is interesting. I wonder if it's because it tends to be the vehicle of choice for people who use them for the purpose for which they are designed, and so they tend to be on the roads less, thus being involved in less accidents? I've known a few Land Rover drivers, all of whom chose them because they have large properties they drive it around on.

    To be as specific as I can be, Toyota Camry and its offshoots.

      Couldn't agree more. Camry or Avalon are the worst makes: not confident, 15km/h under the limit, come to a complete stop at round abouts, don't match highway speed on on ramps, do under the speed limit in right lane on dual carriage way roads, don't move up to the line at traffic lights etc etc. The list goes on...

      As a make though, Toyota in general attracts poor drivers. My theory is that Toyota is known as the reliable brand, therefore attracts people who have no interest in driving, and therefore do a lack lustre job of it.

      I’ve had a saying for several years, that there should be MORE Camrys on the road - that would bring out those hopeless owners/drivers that are currently hiding in other brands!

      As it is, if I see a Camry / Aurion or other derivative - I automatically ‘go defensive’ (thumb on the horn, pinky on the indicator and brakes ready) - they are just so totally unpredictable.

      Parking, turning, merging - any manouver that requires the driver to be in the seat is a dangerous act. If you pay attention - more than a small portion of on-road incidents actually involve one of these models - as an initiator.

    When I hear a V8 reving too much, or a burst of engine power, or burnout, or a skid round a corner it's usually a Holden Commodore about 75% of the time. Usually a ute. They should come with -6 demerit points.

    Last edited 27/05/13 12:24 pm

    White Van drivers are the new Volvo ID10ts

    If you see a hold up on the free way, you can almost bet your testies that the vehicle at the front holding everyone back will be a nondescript white van!

    Last edited 27/05/13 12:30 pm

      Full of no name speakers being delivered to a shopping center car park to be sold to people driving commodores (fully sick speakers man! Sell them to you for half price!)


      White Vans are making a case for biggest dickhead drivers on the road.

    In Sydney, it's whatever Legion Cab drivers are in - they have a gift for blocking busy intersections. In London, it was people using driving school cars outside of lesson time - completely insane.

    Not too impressed with Mini Cooper drivers. It's like they've been waiting to make their entry onto the public road system with the equivalent of an ipad on wheels, and are too cool to pay attention to anyone else on the road.

    In my experience everyone complains that everyone else is a horrible driver while they themselves are 100% perfect at everything. These comments tend to back that up.

    As a young driver if you drive any sort of Falcon like I do every guy in a commodore tries to race / overtake dangerously all the time. It happens roughly 10 - 15 times a day. Especially V6 commodore wagons

    Sometimes, when I'm pulling up at a set of two-lane traffic lights, I have the choice of pulling up behind a sporty looking car, or a "soccer-mum" 4WD that has never been off-road. I always pick the 4WD, as they're quick off the mark, and the person in the sports car takes forever to get near the speed limit.

    So the Jeep bit sounds about right. The Audi does seem right too, as driving west towards Melbourne yields a lot of Audis sitting right up your arse, waiting for a chance to pass.

    I'm 26, and I'm already a cranky driver. If I ever win tattslotto, look out.

    The sooner Google is driving all our cars the better. Honestly, we're all rubbish at it (*)

    * Except me. I'm awesome.

    While I would hardly say I am a great driver, I am not a rolling roadblock or geriatric imbecile. However, it does seem that no matter what speed I drive, there are plenty of Ford Territory mums and Commodore w--kers ready to tailgate. It's a shame, because I love my Volvo. Skylines and tradies deserve a dishonorable mention. Audi drivers are the best - who else could operate a vehicle with their head in their a---?

    Soccer mums in Sydney's North Shore...

    I've driven a V***o for 32 years and I've never been in a single accident. However, I've seen hundreds though.....

    taxi's and all plated vehicles starting with VHA or VHB - Taxi drivers in suits. Worst and most inattentive drivers ever.
    closely followed by car dealership drivers. ALWAYS fanging a customers' car.

    To bring it to a specific model, rather than a make - Mazda3 drivers! Easily the worst. Next time you see a Mazda3, take note of whatever stupid thing the driver is currently doing.

    Q: Which Car Brand Attracts The Worst Drivers?
    A: Ford Territory.

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