What your car make says about you

UK Driver Personas

There are different stereotypes associated with drivers of every brand of vehicle on the roads. From the general assumption that BMW drivers will be careless and aggressive, to motorists behind the wheel of a Nissan or Toyota being patient and easy-going in the main. We wanted to know if there was any element of truth to these perceptions and whether the drivers of these cars actually live up to these traits?

At First Response Finance, we did some research of our own to determine which driving personas most people associated themselves with. Using a few simple questions including driving habits in particular situations we managed to categorise drivers into 1 of 4 personas. We analysed the results paying particular attention to responses from drivers of the UK’s top ten car brands, to see if motorists behind the wheel of these vehicles actually possess the stereotypical driver personas commonly associated with them.

Identifying Driver Personas

Having identified that most drivers can be categorised as either a Cautious Rider, Speedy Competitor, Know It All or Laidback Dreamer, we devised a series of multiple-choice questions in order to identify which of these driver personas motorists most closely match. We then invited participants to divulge the make of car they drive having had their driver persona revealed by taking our quiz. Would they match common stereotypes? To help identify which driver persona each respondent most represents, they were asked to:

  • Select a bumper sticker they’d be most likely to have on their car
  • Identify the type of music they’d enjoy whilst behind the wheel
  • Reveal their reaction to a slow car and middle lane hogging driver
  • Admit their response to being gazumped for a parking space
  • Divulge what they perceive to be the main purpose of the horn   

These multiple-choice questions helped identify which one of the four driver personas, detailed below each motorist reflected the most.

Cautious Rider

Cautious Rider - Driver Persona

The cautious rider was by far the most popular persona that drivers who took our quiz associated with. A cautious driver is best described as someone who is patient, allowing extra time for journeys but sometimes wary of others on the road and worried about tricky junctions and parking manoeuvres. Generally easy-going, they may not always enjoy driving and do it more out of necessity than for fun.

50% of respondents were found to be a cautious driver including 100% of all Audi, BMW, Hyundai, Peugeot and Nissan drivers. It was also the top profile for Ford (71%) and Toyota (67%) owners. 

Personas of UK’s top 10 car brands

Driver Personas of UK Drivers

Speedy Competitor

Speedy Competitor Driver Personas

As the name of this driver persona suggests, speedy competitors are aggressive and impatient when behind the wheel. Hard and fast on the accelerator, they will do almost anything they can to beat other drivers, treating every journey as a race and frustration arises when they get stuck behind tractors and other slow moving traffic.

21% of all participants identified themselves with this driver persona, with the highest being 25% of all Mercedes drivers.

Know It All

Know it all driver personas

A ‘know it all’ driver is someone who sticks to the rules of the road, rarely speeding and always indicating whether there’s another car in sight or not. They can be quick to find fault with others on the road, believing everyone else is an incompetent driver, which leads to frustration and puts them in a bad mood.

In total 18% of drivers associated themselves with this driver persona, including 27% of Vauxhall owners, the most of any one brand.

Laidback Dreamer

Laidback Dreamer driver persona

The least popular driver persona, just 11% of those surveyed could resonate with the ‘laidback dreamer’ style. These are calm drivers, sometimes oblivious to others on the road who don’t let aggressive driving and traffic frustrate them. These drivers may not be the safest road users as they are partial to distractions.

Volkswagen drivers most associated with this type of driver, as 43% of them fell under this category.

Personas of UK drivers

Common Perceptions

These findings represent what drivers of particular brands believe their persona behind the wheel to be most like when other road users may view them very differently. For example, our findings show that BMW drivers actually do not see themselves as fast and aggressive, but rather they are actually predominately patient and cautious road users. In fact, it was Mercedes drivers in our survey who more readily lived up to the Speedy Competitor driver persona, even though some may hold stereotypes of them being older, professional and more sensible on the roads.

Consider whether you agree or disagree with these findings, and if your driver persona matches the common ones associated with each brand presented here.

Join us on Facebook

Follow on Twitter

< Back to blog | Next: What Your Car Colour Says About You >

Images courtesy of iStock.