My one, and only, claim to fame is that I am probably one of the only green writers in the world who hates the Toyota Prius. For me, the problem was never the car itself, which is in many ways a technological wonder. No, it was the holier-than-thou attitude of many drivers, who acted like they were saving the world by driving a Prius. As it turns out though, my perception of Prius drivers was not far off from the truth.
A new study that looked at the driving habits of luxury car owners in relation to crosswalks and pedestrians basically established what most people already assumed; rich people drive with a sense of entitlement. The study, which took place in San Francisco, noted that drivers of shiny and expensive cars were 3-times more likely to “plow through” a crosswalk and not stop for pedestrians than drivers of older clunkers. Drivers of expensive cars were also four-times more likely to cut off other drivers at 4-way intersections.
As it turns out though, drivers of shiny and expensive cars aren’t the only a-holes on the road. Toyota Prius drivers failed to yield to pedestrians about ⅓ of the time, putting the Prius amongst the highest “unethical” vehicles. The study calls this phenomenon “moral licensing”, which is essentially the feeling that since they are “saving the world”, the normal rules of the road don’t apply to Prius drivers.
I know this isn’t going to make me any fans among the Prius community…but I still don’t care. Drop the attitude and just drive your damn car without getting all high and mighty about it.
Source: Science Mag