Will Tesla owners stop at crosswalks for pedestrians?.... accoding to scientific experiments... probably less then everyone else

Will Tesla owners stop at crosswalks for pedestrians?.... accoding to scientific experiments... probably less then everyone else

I thought I would change subject of this forum slightly and talk about an interesting experiment where they put college students at a crosswalk and told them to try crossing when the approaching car would have enough distance to stop. they noticed a few facinating things about people who drive expensive cars along with hybrid owners like the prius

here's a quote from the article

In a final experiment, the researchers took their hypothesis to the streets. At a busy intersection in the San Francisco Bay area, the team stationed "pedestrians" at crosswalks, with instructions to approach the crossing at a point when oncoming drivers would have a chance to stop. Observers coded the status of the cars' drivers based on the vehicles' age, make, and appearance. Drivers of shiny, expensive cars were three times more likely than those of old clunkers to plow through a crosswalk, failing to yield to pedestrians as required by California state law. High-status motorists were also four times more likely than those with cheaper, older cars to cut off other drivers at a four-way stop.

In an interesting twist, about one-third of Prius drivers broke crosswalk laws, putting the hybrid among the highest "unethical driving" car brands. "This is a good demonstration of the 'moral licensing' phenomenon, in which hybrid-car drivers who believe they're saving the Earth may feel entitled to behave unethically in other ways," Piff says. (The Prius results were observed but not analyzed for statistical significance in the study.)

Piff says the study may shed light on the hotly debated topic of income inequality. "Our findings suggest that if the pursuit of self-interest goes unchecked, it may result in a vicious cycle: self-interest leads people to behave unethically, which raises their status, which leads to more unethical behavior and inequality."

I'm sure everyone reading this will say THEY always stop and THEY will always stop and they must be talking about another earth saving expensive car driving person... but it's an interesting read and I thought I would share it. It brings up the point that maybe sometimes we should consider ourselves EV ambassadors and try and stop at crosswalks more often, be courteous to other drivers and bike riders on the road and stop at lemonade stands (see my previous post)
Most importantly maybe we should not consider ourselves better then most ICE drivers who may not have the money right now but wish they could be able to afford these amazing envirmrntally friendly car. (my car is still in the factory being built as of this morning)

For example... A response on the bike issue from a post below... a forum member comment was the following..."I must comment: I see "as a cyclist" at the start of a few posts above. Not to be overly cynical, but aren't most people cyclists? Where I grew up, just about everyone learned to ride a bike somewhere between 5 and 7, so it's not exactly an achievement nor a great qualification to start a post with. I could understand if a comment start "as an audiologist" or "as an emergency room doctor" or accident analyst etc.
Seriously, on a public road you should either equip yourself with a rear view mirror, have exquisite hearing, look over your shoulder fairly often or expect a friendly "toot" every now and then.

On the other hand, if your delicate sensibilities render you likely to fall over at a loud noise, you might be better with some training wheels.

And by the way, I can and do ride two wheeled vehicles all varieties.

Anyway.. not looking to start a fight just thought I would pass this along as it was an interesting read

tobi_ger | July 24, 2013

There is no such thing like a "friendly toot"! They are made to sound the opposite and may distract more than that it helps.

pebell | July 24, 2013

I'm confused.. The rules are: pedestrian, 10 points, pedestrian at crosswalk, 15 points, right? Why would that change when I drive my MS??

Jamon | July 24, 2013

That's interesting. I'm one who drove a "clunker" for many years before upgrading the Model S. I find that I'm usually nicer and more generous now that I'm in the S. In my old car I always felt like I was in a hurry (I would squeeze into tight spots on the road and usually not yield to pedestrians if it was a "grey area" situation). Now in the Model S I feel much more relaxed, and happy to wait for cars or pedestrians.

I think there are a few reasons why I changed:

- I felt more anonymous in my old car, but now I feel like more people are watching me ... kind of like a Tesla ambassador

- I love to be in my car now, so I don't mind if it takes longer to get to my destination

- Since the car is so quiet, I feel more connected to the world around me (I can hear the pedestrians talking, birds chirping, etc)

- I usually don't feel like I need to fight for position with other cars because (a) we both know that I could smoke almost any car on the road, and (b) I can so easily maneuver into position later when a spot opens up on the road

I've been driving my S for a while (6 months tomorrow), so hopefully the new zen driving habits aren't just a passing fad :)

stevenmaifert | July 24, 2013

Of course we'll stop. Can't tell you how many thumbs up received and comments from the pedestrians about what a great looking car ModS.

cpetrush | July 24, 2013

Jamon: 6 months tomorrow me too! Still love it like day one.

jbunn | July 24, 2013

Having lived in Seattle for over 20 years, and now in San Francisco for close to 5 months, I can say SF has the worst pedestrians.

Seattlites are goody-two-shoes to a fault. As my wife, an SF native observed "Seattlites will stand in the rain for 5 minutes staring at a red crosswalk sign even if there is not a car in sight" Why? Well, for the same reason they have soda machines with beer in them in Japan. I asked a native how they keep teens from purchasing. He looked at me like I was an idiot, and said "No, that would not be legal."

Contrast that with SF. Red walk light, white walk light, does not matter. They stand in the street like a runner on first trying to steal second base. They will cross against the light in traffic walking in front of speeding cars. Even a right hand turn is murder, as at one point or another or both at the same time, you'll have people in the cross walks, many of them against the walk light.

Jamon | July 24, 2013

@cpetrush - awesome! Did you happen to pick up at the factory?

BrianMRolfe | July 24, 2013

As someone who has dabbled in higher ed research, I think there might be a 'fatal flaw' in the methodology. Per the post, the researchers "told them to try crossing when the approaching car would have enough distance to stop." Unless the researchers had an established marker for the pedestrian to reference when initiating the event, the results will be flawed.

Also, less expensive cars are normally smaller (and lighter) meaning they can slow in a shorter distance than many luxury vehicles. Yes, they can all initiate an "emergency stop" within the required legal limits, but that is not the point of the experiment.

cpetrush | July 24, 2013

Jamon: Sure did. Friday, Jan. 25th, 5pm. Blue, tan, 60.

cfOH | July 24, 2013

@BrianMRolfe Not to mention no observation of many potential confounds, such as age/gender of the driver, etc. Using the car as a proxy for the driver seems pretty loosey-goosey to me. I mean, can you tell if that $60K BMW 5-series wagon is being driven by mom or teen child? And SF has pretty hefty tourist traffic...are they sure that new Infiniti isn't a rental?

Jamon | July 24, 2013

cpetrush - we just missed each other! I picked up at 11am.

pebell | July 24, 2013

It's such a subtle difference. Constructing an experiment to prove a hypothesis, versus constructing an experiment to test a hypothesis.. One is science, the other...

cloroxbb | July 24, 2013

I think this study is stupid. Its not because they drive certain dollar amount cost cars, its because they are assholes.

You could be a millionaire and drive a Toyota Yaris and still be an asshole, or be broke and somehow drive a Model S and still be someone who stops.

Assholes are assholes no matter what they drive or how much money they have (or don't)

This has been my opinion :)

Dr. Bob Reinke | July 24, 2013

Not unusual for people in a cross walk to get an astonished look, come to the drivers window and suggest rolling it down--then ask many questions about the car, and It's history. More likely to get the driver behind on the horn because we are blocking an intersection at the crosswalk.

archibaldcrane | July 24, 2013

I drive a beat 2003 Nissan Sentra, and I stop for pedestrians only if I'm going to be impeding them (or would otherwise hit them, obviously). As a pedestrian, I hate crossing a street where drivers unnecessarily stop well before they would need to, holding up traffic for themselves and others behind them. While they think they are being nice, I see it as senseless and rude to those behind them.

You're either doing something dangerous or you're not. Blowing through a crosswalk while the pedestrian is 20 feet before or past your path is efficient.

Mark2131@CA-US | July 24, 2013

I like the New York City pedestrian rules. The cars don't stop for you, and you don't care about jaywalking.

AmpedRealtor | July 24, 2013

The type of car you drive has nothing to do with how you treat others. If you are a douchebag, you will always be a douchebag whether you drive a Model S or a Gremlin. Concern and empathy for others is not dependent upon economic status, it is dependent upon you not being a horse's ass.

alfafoxtrot1 | July 24, 2013

Hypothesis this: the shitty cars were rentals driven by tourists who were freaked out by the Cali pedestrian laws. I'll certainly be driving a standard issue rental when I'm out there next month. Am I a Hyundai driver or a MS driver in the survey? | July 24, 2013

+1 AmpedRealtor

KendallPB | July 25, 2013

Some may not have stopped 'cuz they saw a jerk waiting till just the right moment to make a car stop. ;-)

Half-joking (and only half-joking) aside, plenty of flaws in this non-scientific experiment.

Mathew98 | July 25, 2013

Double douche to the experiment...

BTW, I only run down people that I don't like. Record count is still sitting at 0.

ItsNotAboutTheMoney | July 25, 2013

OK, so there are three possible conclusions from this experiment:
- It pays to be an asshole.
- Pedestrians need to leave enough distance for Prius drivers to brake without activating the friction brakes. (Please. ;))

ItsNotAboutTheMoney | July 25, 2013

- Students are bad judges of distance

RZitrin1 | July 25, 2013

Back to the main point:

I stop MORE often, b/c I'm aware the car makes no noise. I'm more careful about coming up behind bikes (many many in SF), UPS delivery people who use their ears to hear cars, etc.

Seems to me that's our obligation. It also, btw, distinguishes us from other expensive cars, as they make noise. Those drivers may just say "screw it" but we have to be more careful.

Speed Racer | July 25, 2013

and i guess the students only had bad judgement about luxury cars?? I believe they had a point/marker the cars got to where the students were told to start crossing... No one believes this experiment could be correct? and if no one believes it could be true does that tell us something ?

hfcolvin | July 25, 2013

Since when does unethical behavior raise your status? Does the author (of the study) suggest that successful people got that way by cheating?

stsanford | July 25, 2013

+1 AmpedRealtor

Brian H | July 25, 2013

Entitlement? Like Tiger?

Robert22 | July 25, 2013

This is garbage. Drill down a little and read the political backstory. Lesson: Always check for the agenda first.

HenryT2 | July 25, 2013


I agree 100%. I also let pedestrians go now more than I did in my Ford Fiesta. For all the reasons you mentioned, but mostly the first reason about feeling like an ambassador for Tesla.

Also, when you're flying by at top speed, the poor peasants don't get a proper view of the awesomeness.

xradr | July 26, 2013

This research reminds me of the instant classic southpark episode (Smug Alert).


Andre-nl | July 26, 2013

What comes after stopping? Right, acceleration!

If I owned an MS I would be stopping all the time: pedestrians, dogs, cats, birds, mosquitos, the more excuses to stop, the better.

more stopping = more acceleration = more Tesla grin

mrspaghetti | July 26, 2013

AmpedRealtor +1

Some people who don't have nice cars envy those who do, and attribute all kinds of bad things to them as a result. This 'experiment' is, at best, questionable.

LazMan | July 26, 2013

The conclusion is moronic, clearly determined beforehand.

However, a more interesting experiment would be to do the same experiment but compare cares with or without regenerative breaking.

The regen can slow the MS down to about 5km/hr and I can see it would be easy to get lazy with the break. Why stop completely if you have to move your foot all the way over to the break pedal. Plus breaking is just lost electrons...such a shame.

KendallPB | August 1, 2013

@Andre-nl: ROFL

HenryT2 | August 1, 2013

I noticed that another reason I stop MORE frequently for pedestrians with the MS is because of the silence factor. More chance that a pedestrian might just walk in front of your car. I'm much more cautious around pedestrians than I used to be.

LV2SF99999 | August 2, 2013

The study must have been conducted by the same people who concluded that frogs with no legs don't jump when told to jump is because they are deaf.

Brian H | August 2, 2013

No, the MS doesn't break when it brakes.

Lessmog | August 3, 2013

" HenryT2 | August 1, 2013
I noticed that another reason I stop MORE frequently for pedestrians with the MS is because of the silence factor. More chance that a pedestrian might just walk in front of your car. I'm much more cautious around pedestrians than I used to be."

Also, cost of washer fluid and/or dent fixing must enter into the calculations. ;-)