His research shows that owners of high-status vehicles could be on a collision course with other road users.
The research follows his observations that Audi and BMW drivers seemed more likely to ignore traffic regulations and drive in a reckless fashion.
“I had noticed that the ones most likely to run a red light, not give way to pedestrians and generally drive recklessly and too fast were often the ones driving fast German cars,” he says.
Jan-Erik based his research on previous studies that found drivers of expensive vehicles were more likely to break traffic regulations.
This phenomenon has previously been explained with the common assumption that wealth has a corrupting effect on people.
However, the Prof approached the question from a different angle by asking whether specific types of people with a tendency to break rules are drawn to high-status vehicles, regardless of their wealth.
His research explored the association between personality traits and driving behaviour.
The results were analysed using the Five‐Factor Model, the most widely used framework for assessing personality traits in five key domains: openness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, extraversion, agreeableness.
It resoundingly found that self-centred men who are argumentative, stubborn, disagreeable and “unempathetic” are much more likely to own a high-status vehicle.
“These personality traits explain the desire to own high-status products, and the same traits also explain why such people break traffic regulations more frequently than others,” he says.
“These are people who often see themselves as superior and are keen to display this to others.”
While he cited German luxury cars, it would be more difficult to categorise was represents a luxury motorcycle.