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What Type of Driver Are You?

blacktalonblacktalon Posts: 203
edited March 15 in General
Over time, I've noticed that drivers tend to fall into different categories based on their feelings towards cars and driving.

Enthusiast Drivers

Enthusiast drivers love to drive. If you're like me and a beautiful sunny day (like today in Boston) makes you say, "I just have to do some driving today!" then you're an enthusiast.

Enthusiasts tend to drive sports cars, sports coupes, sports sedans, roadsters, and muscle cars -- anything that's built primarily for fun rather than practicality.

Enthusiasts have plenty of internal debates -- American cars vs European cars vs Japanese cars, roadsters vs muscle cars, sports sedans vs sport compacts, RWD vs AWD, front-engine vs mid-engine, high-end power vs low-end torque, et cetera. But the one thing all enthusiasts agree upon is that there's (almost) nothing better than taking a sports car through the twisties on a beautiful day, with the stereo up and your right foot down.

Above all, enthusiasts are focused on the act of driving itself, because it's fun. But enthusiasts are definitely in the minority in the general population...

Frustrated Enthusiast Drivers

Frustrated enthusiasts are enthusiasts who, for one reason or another, are no longer able to drive fun cars on fun roads on a regular basis.

The most common cause of this malady is having children and having to trade in two-seaters in for minivans, SUVs, or boring family cars. Another common cause is the need to commute daily in rush hour traffic.

Frustrated enthusiasts look wistfully at the roadsters zipping by as they make sure their child seats are firmly attached.

Occasionally, a frustrated enthusiast will "snap" and buy a sports car on impulse, when their spouse is expecting them to return with a new minivan. This can lead to expensive counseling bills.

Practical Drivers

Practical drivers don't have a strong emotional reaction to driving, either positive or negative. They just want a reliable, economical, safe way of getting from point A to point B.

Practical drivers are responsible for making cars like the Accord, Camry, and Taurus best sellers. They can't see spending extra money for either high performance or a prestige brand.

Some practical drivers are very careful, attentive, and safety conscious. Others like to talk on cell phones while they're washing down bagels with their morning coffee (and also, incidentally, driving to work).

Prestige Drivers

Prestige drivers care less about the experience of driving than the experience of being seen driving a high-status car. Owning a car from a premium marque is of the highest priority, and owning a superior model than most other drivers of the marque is a bonus.

Unlike the enthusiast driver, who may choose a BMW or a Porsche for its fun factor, the prestige driver cares more about the fact that they're driving a BMW or a Porsche -- or a Mercedes, Lexus, or Infiniti.

Prestige drivers tend to be the most demanding in terms of the exterior and interior appearance and upkeep of their vehicles. (Enthusiasts come a close second, but tend to place at least as much priority on their cars' mechanical upkeep.)

Reluctant Drivers

Reluctant drivers would rather not be driving at all. For some, it's an environmental or political issue. Others just find the experience of driving stressful and unpleasant. Some are actively scared of the other drivers on the road.

For the reluctant driver, the ideal is to get rid of their car entirely, and the next best thing is to drive as little as possible, preferring to walk, bike, or take mass transit whenever possible.

Reluctant drivers tend to drive Priuses, Insights, and used Volvos.

Which type of driver are you? Do you fall into one of these categories, or is there another category I've left out?
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Comments

  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,989
    WOW !!!!!!!!!!!!! I must admit you did a great job. Where would I fit if I drove a Buick Lucerne Super, Buick LaCrosse Super, or better yet a Buick Velite Convertible in a year or two ????? Can a car like a Buick Lucerne CXS or Super not be fun to drive at triple digits with having the fastest suspension in the world soak up all the bumps and restrict dive and body lean ??????

    I however owning a former Acura TL, Cadillac STS, would put myself as a Enthusiast Driver. However currently I'm a Frusterated Enthusiast Driver, because I don't currently own a high powered performance machine.

    I however think it depends also on how many cars one owns which will change behaviors. For instance if a guy owns FWD Saturn Aura as his daily driver would he be a Frusterated Enthusiast at the time or a Practical Driver personality even though he has a Vette in his garage he enjoys on his days off ?????? :confuse:

    I think this forum will be exciting to watch as other's post their opinions. :)

    Great Forum "blacktalon" :shades:

    -Rocky
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,207
    ...I don't fall neatly into any category - I'd say I'm a hybrid prestige/frustrated enthusiast. Frustrated because the streets and roads around Philly are mostly a mess and would destroy the suspension on an aggressively driven car, not to mention outrageous insurance premiums, suburban cops who love to ticket, and big brother tactics being employed on the Roosevelt Blvd.
  • john_324john_324 Posts: 974
    ...I'd add that interior/exterior considerations tend to come second place to drivetrain/suspension qualities. How else to explain the success of the WRX? ;)

    For me, I really couldn't care less about things like leather interiors, GPS systems, anything beyond the base stereo, etc. I realize I'm somewhat hard core about it...whenever I see an Infinity G35 coupe, I always wonder why the driver didn't buy a 350Z instead. :shades:

    Some additions:

    Enthusiasts never buy a car with an eye toward resale value; the value they derive from the car is in the driving experience alone. Resale however, weighs heavily in the mind of the practical driver (who see vehicles as something that should be approached as rationally as possible), as well as for the prestige driver (high prices validate their choice).

    Both enthusiasts and practicals wash/wax themselves (love of caring for their car and saving money, respectively) wheres prestige and reluctants pay someone else (high end detailers vs. closest local carwash).
  • Karen_CMKaren_CM Posts: 5,032
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  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,695
    a practical enthusiast? The truth of the matter is that in California, we have (a) far too much traffic to ever be able to really stretch our legs anywhere, and (b) such garbage pavement that any enthusiast car enthusiastically driven would quickly be destroyed by the road. So, I become a frustrated enthusiast.

    Then I throw in a large dose of tempering my enthusiast tendencies with some environmental awareness, so seeking the best fuel economy and least smog emissions possible, and I become a practical enthusiast.

    I am convinced that most of our regulars in the town hall would not fit neatly in one of these categories, but rather would be a hybrid...

    :-)

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Posts: 5,713
    isn't it possible to stretch your automotive legs around Death Valley or anywhere towards Nevada on the California side? I know the Bay area and So-Cal are knotted up but the northern part of Cal and SE should allow some stretchin'.

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • blacktalonblacktalon Posts: 203
    I'm sure a lot of people are hybrids of more than one type. While I'm primarily an enthusiast driver, I also have a bit of the practical driver (I want my cars to be reliable and all-season capable) as well a bit as the prestige driver (I bought my BMW Z4 for the fun factor, but I don't mind that it's a BMW :)).

    As far as roads go, I lived in Palo Alto for a year and in LA for two summers. Compared to California, Boston's traffic jams aren't quite as bad, but Boston's roads are much worse (potholes galore) and Boston's drivers are far more insane. But I still have fun driving in Boston anyway. :)
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,695
    Oh sure, Boston is included in my remarks! In fact, for good measure I will throw in everything in the northeast corridor between DC and the Maine border. Crowded, crowded, crowded.

    As for NorCal, iluv, there are a few spots to "stretch out", but they are nowhere near the Bay. Take the drive over Donner Summit and past Reno, however, and now you are talking a whole different story! ;-)

    And I will amend my remarks to include that I insist on my car being all-season, as mentioned above. No convertibles or roadsters for me, just not practical enough. In fact, I want all my cars from now on to have at least four passenger doors, I do too much kid-carrying to have it any other way. It's a good thing there are a bunch of very competent sport sedans on the market these days, but then I must still revert to points (a) and (b) above...

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,989
    nippon, how old are your little ones pal ?

    -Rocky
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,695
    You know what's funny, Rock? I don't have kids of my own! However, I do have two sisters who have given me a total of 3 nieces and 2 nephews, and they need my help all the time with babysitting and transportation. There's ballet, soccer, little league, piano, parties, play dates, it's just unbelievable how much stuff kids do! :-)

    Oh, and my nieces are 2, 4, and 16, and my nephews are 2 and 12. And I love babysitting and tagging along for music lessons and sports practices, so my conversion to "practical enthusiast" has been nothing but pleasurable. :-)

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,989
    WOW......You are one helluva a UNCLE. My uncle was/is a lot like you and was actively involved in my life like you are with your nieces and nephews. :) Trust me your dedication of being a second father is worth your time as you will be thanked later in life for being their for them. My uncle played a huge roll in my developement and I considered him as my best friend. So yeah I can understand you being a "Frusterated Enthusiast" but you still have options on vehicle types that can haul the kids and is something you can enjoy and live happily with. :)

    -Rocky
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,695
    Hey Rock, thanks a lot for the kind words! :-)

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • scape2scape2 Posts: 4,119
    GET OUT of MY WAY!!!....

    Just kidding...
  • euphoniumeuphonium Great Northwest, West of the Cascades.Posts: 3,347
    95 Ford T Bird 4.6 (wife wanted it) purchased used 1998

    94 Lincoln Town Car " " " " new 1994

    66 Mustang GT Coupe (I wanted it) purchased used 1967 - it replaced a 63 Fiat Spider, I wanted, purchased new 1963. ;)

    I'm considered an enthusiast with the Mustang as it has been a Trophy car for over 10 years.

    I'm considered a Practical/Prestige driver and that's OK.
    However, the love of my life got her speeding ticket in the T Bird and I'm not going to label her other than a lady. :)
  • elroy5elroy5 Posts: 3,741
    When I was in my 20's I was in the "hot rod" stage Souped up Chevy Chevelle doing 1/4 mile runs with anyone who wanted to go. Now I'm in my 40's and have a V6 Honda Accord. I still love driving, just not as aggressive as I used to be. Responsibility (family) does that to you.
  • trimastertrimaster Posts: 163
    I'd have to say I'm an enthusiast who likes to drive prestigous cars? :blush:
  • mikevegas06mikevegas06 Posts: 272
    The "Inconsiderate Drivers..." post got me to thinking about my driving style and how it has changed over the years. As few as five year ago, I was the guy speeding and weaving through town and on the highways. My wife got on me, too. Telling how my breating would change how I would start sweating when I was driving. Finally, I listened and took her words into consideration. So, now I'm the guy in the right lane with the cruise control engaged and enjoying the trip. I really try to be a considerate driver (using turn signals, moving over for merging vehicles, not getting into the left lane to pass when another vehcile is in that lane & traveling at a faster rate than me, etc.) Life in the car is definitely better. My wife now jokes that she feels like she's riding with her dad (almost everyone is passing us).

    So what's your driving style and why?
  • john_324john_324 Posts: 974
    My style is somewhat (Northern) European...I spend a lot of time there, and when I can, I like to go to track days here at home. So it means I like to drive fast, but I obey the functional rules of the road as well as the unwritten ones. It's all about smoothness and flow (that's why I specified "Northern" Europe... ;) )

    Therefore, what really makes my blood boil is when other drivers don't act in the same way, and the flow suffers.

    For instance, improper merging drives me nuts; I hate when merging drivers don't understand that as the merger, they have a responsibility to merge in with the existing traffic flow without causing traffic disruption. I'm more than happy to let them in, but they need to make the effort and act like they know what they're doing (i.e. blasting at full speed to the end of the merge lane is a no-no, as is coming to a complete stop).
  • blacktalonblacktalon Posts: 203
    I would describe my style as "spirited and fun-loving". :)

    I drive fast, but I also try to drive nice -- no tailgating, no cutting other people off intentionally, occasionally even letting someone flashing their turn signals in (as opposed to speeding up to block them, as is the norm in Boston).

    I know other people who get stressed out about driving in Boston. I even know a few who absolutely refuse to drive in downtown Boston. But after living here for 8 years, I've come to find it invigorating. When I drive in other US cities, it seems boring by comparison. :)

    Above all, driving is a joy -- especially in a sports car. So I refuse to become one of those people who see it as a chore or a routine.
  • boaz47boaz47 Posts: 2,750
    My friend, you should have told Iluv that you can indeed stretch out on roads in Death valley or headed out towards Vegas. But then you hardly need a sports car to do so. One could most often pour a cup of coffee and drink it without touching the wheel at 90 MPH and not even drift into the next lane. Yes we still have some roads with the twists in them but California is fast becoming one of the leading states with arrow straight roads and car pool lanes that simply beg you to set the cruise control and turn up your favorite CD till you get to where you are going. The last time I drove anywhere near your area I took 5 most of the way and didn't cut over till I was close to San Jose. I was willing to bet my wife that I could drive with no hands and only use my knees for at least 45 minutes. ( I didn't just in case you are wondering but I know I could have anytime after passing Button willow.) You can pretty much do the same thing going from LA to San Diego. Many of the old frontage highways are being done away with and simply being replaced by wider freeways. The 210 is about to be completed if it isn't already and I would be able to come off of my mountain and once I hit the freeway I could drive all the way to the 5 without making one turn worth mentioning. There are still some interesting roads to drive but they are getting harder to find and the black and white cars seem to frown on anyone trying to have "Fun" on any of them. Ortega Highway is one big ticket trap now.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,956
    You need to go find the Old Priest Grade. :shades:

    How do you find a scenic drive?

    Moderator
    Minivan fan. Feel free to message or email me - stever@edmunds.com.

  • boaz47boaz47 Posts: 2,750
    For a short drive I have no problem compared to my friends living in the flat lands. I can find interesting roads just to take a drive if that is what I want to do. However many of those interesting roads take as much as 30 minutes longer to get anywhere. But times have changed and very few people go for a drive anymore. When I was a kid I can remember my father taking us out for a drive but that is a very rare thing today. Plus even the interesting roads are now turning into four lanes. At one time lower Orange County and upper San Diego county were connected to parts of the Inland Empire with some very interesting roads. They are still there in some cases but they have placed connecting freeways that go to all of the same places that take a lot less time. Plus one a freeway goes in anywhere close to one of those interesting roads the road crews seem to forget that the old roads still need repair.
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Posts: 5,713
    Grants and Albuquerqe, NM, my driving was involving some serious "twisties."

    What a great opportunity to push my '08 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS to the hilt. It was up the mountainside with twists and turns and uphills then downhills for about 40 miles or so heading towards Silver City, NM, cutting off from I-25 southbound. The handsome 4-door sedan performed admirably and still turned in about 29.0 mpg for the uphill run!

    New Mexico is one open, arid and mountainous and desert-laden state. It has plenty of both terrains and some water, but, like its western neighbor, Arizona, not all that much water to speak of.

    So today on the way home I could be a twisty-a-go-go type of driver. My wife's stomach got a little upset, though. Humm...wonder why that might have happened. I think if I was the front passenger on that west-south central stretch of NM mountainous terrain-travel I would probably be a bit sick to my stomach. Especially if the driver decided to "make time" in even steep, mountainous terrain!

    Nice, challenging terrain to test the Lancer GTS racing heritage out a tad.

    The babe passed with flying colors. ;)

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • topseatopsea Posts: 47
    It's funny, but I call myself a "semi" professional driver. I'm in to my second million miles of driving for my work. I drive, these days, 35,000 to 40,000 miles per year. I've been "buzzing" around the northwest for the last 26 years. I don't let much bother me in spite of all the new vehicles that are purchased without turn signals or drivers that can't seem to find the lane that they should be in when making turns.
  • kind of New World Order thing, this "I don't have to signal because I...I...oh, I don't know, I'm just a lazy-butt, or I don't feel like it." Lump 'em all in with Britney Spears.

    If they hit your car on the pull-in to a parking spot in a parking lot they'd no doubt do as Britney did, go look at the area on their car where they think they might have scraped your car at and just ignore yours completely! Dorks. What is the big deal with popping your turn-signal on when changing lanes?

    One person answered that question this way. They said that a lot of people develop that habit because of competitive feelings borne from driving in overly-congested areas. They feel that if they signal ahead of their lane change, you will just speed up and not let them in. Then they'd really be hot as a hornet angry!

    Still, there's lots of times where there's a huge gap and they have plenty of time and space to put their turn-signal on, they just choose not to. Just another sprinkling of New World Order end-of-days selfishness. Uh-huh.

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • That's cool, Mike. If you go the speed limit you should stay in the right lanes. And cruise control is actually speed control these days. Most systems keep the same speed rather than throttle position as in systems of yore. I actually use speed control at 5-10mph above the speed limit on highways in my car. I have a commercial license so I can't get too crazy. I stay in the middle or right lanes to allow the faster traffic to pass. But it's funny how often the faster traffic and I will sometimes pull ahead of each other from time to time. These guys can't hold their speed within a few mph. With speed control such a common option (or standard) equipment these days, more people should use it.
  • topseatopsea Posts: 47
    I couldn't agree more for using cruise control. I drive by what my GPS says is my "real" speed and drive "5 over" the limit. I don't have a commercial license but I can tell you that I don't want any tickets on my record.

    I would say 90 to 95% of my driving is on cruise control and like you I pass then they pass and so on while I maintain a constant speed. Heck, I even pass the state patrol on the freeway that way. I couldn't live without my cruise control. I use it on 30mph streets even
  • euphoniumeuphonium Great Northwest, West of the Cascades.Posts: 3,347
    If you go the speed limit you should stay in the right lanes.

    When the limit of speed is the speed limit and if you go the speed limit you should be at ease in driving any lane you choose. The inside lane is not reserved for "speed demons" - it is reserved for overtaking others traveling at less than the speed limit i.e. 18 wheelers & cars towing anything. You can Left Lane Camp, but you must be doing the speed limit to do so. Let NOT the Speed Demons con you into getting out of their way for it is they who are to adjust - not you. ;)
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,956
    In Idaho, the traffic code says to drive on the right and has this interesting clause:

    Upon all highways any vehicle proceeding at less than normal speed of traffic at the time and place and under the conditions then existing, shall be driven in the right-hand lane available for traffic (link)

    Curious that it doesn't say anything about the speed limit - just normal speed of traffic. That tells me that a LLC should be ticketed for not moving over.

    Moderator
    Minivan fan. Feel free to message or email me - stever@edmunds.com.

  • fintailfintail Posts: 34,333
    "When the limit of speed is the speed limit and if you go the speed limit you should be at ease in driving any lane you choos"

    If one discards all idea of lane discipline (also known as logic and accountability) ;)

    Some people preach so much about the sins of others that one has to assume they never sin, themselves. This must be true!
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