He found that exactly none of the cars in the least expensive category broke the law, while almost 50 per cent of the cars in the most expensive category broke the law.
I’ve been thinking about Paul’s experiment since the other night when I drove home from a party and sailed straight through a crossing while the pedestrian waiting to cross roundly abused me. It was dark, and they were wearing dark clothes, but that would have been little consolation had I hit them.
I’m pretty sure this incident occurred for a combination of reasons – lighting, inattention and fatigue, and the pedestrian being one of those people who steps from the curb and just assumes the traffic has seen them and will stop – but what if Paul is right and there’s more to it than that? What if my driving an expensive car is symptomatic of an attitude towards others?
I do know that some of my cars – and now that I think about it, it’s the less expensive ones, generally – require quite a bit of actual driving, demanding attention and engagement; the experience in the more expensive cars is definitely more cocooned, I generally listen to the music louder, and I’m significantly less connected to the driving experience and the conditions outside. So for now, and without wanting to dwell on the implications of Paul’s research too much, that’s what I’m going to put it down to.
But I will pay attention next time I’m out in one of the more luxurious of my cars, because if there’s anything worse than conforming to a stereotype, it’s actually being a dick.