Car Brands With the Rudest Drivers (2021)

Chase Gardner

By: Chase Gardner

Published December 6, 2021

Reading time: 6 minutes

Driving through holiday traffic can bring out the worst in any driver. As it turns out, drivers of these five car brands exhibit rude driving behavior at elevated rates.

The holidays have officially arrived, bringing plenty of cheer—but also plenty of stress. Whether it’s buying gifts for picky friends or hosting a house full of relatives, there’s a lot to worry about this holiday season. Adding to these challenges, travel gets particularly hectic this time of year, with winter weather and congested roads causing stressful—and more often dangerous—driving conditions. It’s no surprise then that drivers tend to be more on-edge than usual when traveling during the holiday season, which unfortunately has harmful ramifications. Motor vehicle accident fatalities spike this time of year: for example, traffic deaths are 68% more common on New Year’s Day than during non-holiday periods according to the National Safety Council.

Yet while holiday stress can get to anyone, it’s still no excuse for acting rude on the road, especially since such behavior is not only inconsiderate, but dangerous. Some of the most extreme forms of rude driving behavior—like failing to yield or stop—are exceptionally hazardous, and drivers should exercise particular caution around motorists whose behavior demonstrates a wanton disregard for others on the road. To help inform drivers on staying safe on the roads this year, data scientists at Insurify turned to their database of over 4 million car insurance applications to identify the five car brands with the rudest drivers in 2021.

Bar chart depicting the five car brands with the rudest drivers in 2021.

Insights

  • National averages. In 2021, 2.27% of all drivers in America have at least one citation for rude driving behavior on record within the past seven years.

  • German cars abound. German manufacturers are known for producing some of the most well-crafted automobiles in the world. Unfortunately, drivers of these vehicles, no matter the brand, are also more likely to exhibit rude driving behavior (at least in America). Performance brands BMW and Audi are joined by Volkswagen to make up three of the top five auto brands with the rudest drivers, with Audi even ranking at number one overall.

  • Driving polite: a luxury. Of all drivers, Buick owners are the best behaved in 2021. Indeed, only 1.68% of Buick drivers reported a prior citation for rude driving behavior, a share that’s 26% lower than the national average. It appears that for Buick drivers, riding in style makes it easy to take it easy out on the roads.

Methodology

To identify the car makes with the rudest drivers, data scientists at Insurify, a site to compare auto insurance quotes, referred to their database of over 4 million car insurance applications. When applying for car insurance, applicants disclose their current primary vehicle’s make and model, as well as any offenses on their driving record within the past seven years. Insurify determined the following violations as most indicative of rude driving: 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. Analysts compared the number of drivers with at least one of the above violations driving a given car brand against the total number of drivers driving that car brand. The brands with the highest share of drivers with these penalties were determined to be the car brands with the rudest drivers.

For each of the top five car brands, Insurify data scientists also identified the car model with the highest share of drivers with rude driving violations and the car model with the lowest share of drivers with rude driving violations. These car models were designated the “worst offender” and the “best behaved,” respectively.

The findings in this article represent statistical trends found in Insurify’s database of over 4 million car insurance applications. The findings of this study are not meant to imply the direction nor necessarily the existence of a causal relationship. Rather, this is a presentation of statistical correlations of public interest.

Which Car Brands Have the Rudest Drivers

1. Audi - 26% more rude driving citations than average
2. Volkswagen - 20% more rude driving citations than average
3. Mazda - 20% more rude driving citations than average
4. BMW - 18% more rude driving citations than average
5. Hyundai - 13% more rude driving citations than average

5 Car Brands With the Rudest Drivers

5. Hyundai

  • Hyundai drivers with a prior rude driving citation: 2.57% (13% higher than the national average)

  • Worst offender: Hyundai Genesis Coupe (3.49% of drivers reporting a prior rude driving citation)

  • Best behaved: Hyundai Azera (1.72% of drivers reporting a prior rude driving citation)

Hyundai is known for making reliable vehicles with budget-friendly price tags, making them the epitome of practicality. Thus, it might come as a surprise to see Hyundai place fifth on the list of car brands with the rudest drivers. 2.57% of Hyundai owners have a prior citation for rude driving behavior, a rate that’s 13% higher than the national average. Hyundai’s worst offender is the Genesis Coupe, one of the brand’s sportiest vehicles. Its drivers accrue rude driving citations a full 54% more often than the average motorist.

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4. BMW

  • BMW drivers with a prior rude driving citation: 2.67% (18% higher than the national average)

  • Worst offender: BMW 4-Series (4.17% of drivers reporting a prior rude driving citation)

  • Best behaved: BMW X3 (1.61% of drivers reporting a prior rude driving citation)

It’s a common stereotype that BMW drivers are not the best-behaved motorists on the road. Perhaps the temptation to unleash all the automotive power at their hands leads to some questionable decisions on the roads, as BMW drivers accrue citations for rude driving behavior 18% more often than the national average. However, some BMW owners buck this trend: only 1.61% of BMW X3 drivers have a rude driving violation on record, a share that’s 29% lower than the national average.

3. Mazda

  • Mazda drivers with a prior rude driving citation: 2.72% (20% higher than the national average)

  • Worst offender: Mazda CX-3 (3.35% of drivers reporting a prior rude driving citation)

  • Best behaved: Mazda Mazda2 (1.61% of drivers reporting a prior rude driving citation)

Mazda combines sleek styling, sporty feel, and affordable pricing to produce a suite of vehicles with widespread appeal. These eye-catching features, however, also tend to appeal to drivers more likely to exhibit rude driving behavior. With 2.72% of Mazda drivers having a prior citation for rude driving behavior on record, Mazda places third on the list of car brands with the rudest drivers. Its worst offender, the Mazda CX-3, has drivers that accrue rude driving violations a full 48% more often than the average driver.

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2. Volkswagen

  • Volkswagen drivers with a prior rude driving citation: 2.73% (20% higher than the national average)

  • Worst offender: Volkswagen Golf (3.27% of drivers reporting a prior rude driving citation)

  • Best behaved: Volkswagen Atlas (0.91% of drivers reporting a prior rude driving citation)

Volkswagen is renowned for its iconic “love bug” coupe, so it might come as a surprise that the brand’s drivers exhibit elevated rates of decidedly unloving driving behavior. In fact, Volkswagen is second overall on the list of car brands with the rudest drivers. 2.73% of its drivers have a prior rude driving citation on record, a share that’s 20% higher than the national average. Atlas drivers, however, stand apart from the rest of Volkswagen owners. Only 0.91% of Atlas drivers have a rude driving citation on record, which is not only the lowest share of any best-behaved model among the top five brands with the rudest drivers but also one of the lowest shares of any vehicle make and model on the road.

1. Audi

  • Audi drivers with a prior rude driving citation: 2.85% (26% higher than the national average)

  • Worst offender: Audi A4 Allroad (4.36% of drivers reporting a prior rude driving citation)

  • Best behaved: Audi Q5 (1.72% of drivers reporting a prior rude driving citation)

With a full 2.85% of Audi drivers having a prior rude driving violation on record, Audi tops the list of car brands with the rudest drivers in 2021. All but two of Audi’s models—the Q3 and Q5—have owners with above-average rates of rude driving behavior, led by the Audi A4 Allroad. Not only is the A4 Allroad Audi’s worst offender, but it’s also the second-rudest model among all cars on the road, according to Insurify analysis. Overall, Audi drivers accrue rude driving citations 26% more often than the average motorist.

Data Attribution

The information, statistics, and data visualizations on this page are free to use, we just ask that you attribute any full or partial use to Insurify with a link to this page. Thank you!

If you have any questions or comments about this article or would like to request the data, please contact insights@insurify.com.

Chase Gardner
Chase Gardner
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Data Journalist

Chase Gardner is a data journalist at Insurify. He informs readers on major developments in the auto and home industries through research into driver behavior, homeownership tendencies, cost of living trends, and more. He received a bachelor’s degree with concentrations in Environmental & Urban Studies and Statistics from the University of Chicago. Chase’s work has been cited in MSN, Yahoo News, The Street, and dozens of local news outlets across the country.

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