10 Surprising Things Your Car Says About Your Personality

Is your ride giving subtle clues about its driver? From your choice of paint job to bumper stickers, find what your car says about your personality.

Cherry red Mustang
Photo: James R. Martin/Shutterstock

What your car says about you

Certain cars are designed to make everyone stop and stare—think splashy sports cars, very expensive cars, or anything bright red. While driving this type of car will get you some positive attention from others, it also shows you’re willing to risk getting negative attention as well, says Susan M. Henney, Ph.D, professor of psychology at the University of Houston-Downtown. Studies have shown that red cars and sports cars are the most likely to be pulled over by police and targeted by thieves, so by owning one you’re saying that the attention from others is worth the risk of losing your investment to tickets or theft.

Minivan at waterfront
Photo: Darren Brode/Shutterstock

Drive a three-row minivan? You love a crowd

It isn’t the convenience, safety, or storage space that makes the minivan the ultimate parent-mobile (although those help!) but rather the sheer number of kids you can pack into those things, Henney says. “These cars show that you define yourself by your relationship to children and the more kids are in your car, the better you feel about yourself,” she explains. “It tells the world, ‘I’m the carpool mom. I’m valued and important.'”

Find out how the colour of your car affects your accident risk.

LED car headlights
Photo: Shutterstock

Have ultra-bright LED headlights? You put yourself first

The newest headlights use LED technology to get a brighter glow—several factors brighter than even the “brights” on regular halogen headlights—while using much less power. While this can be a boon on dark roads, it can also be a safety hazard as they blind other drivers. (Here are more driving habits that annoy other motorists.) It’s become such a problem that some cities are considering legislation to ban them. By using these lights you’re simply saying, “My comfort is more important than your safety” which shows a real lack of empathy and concern for others, Henney says.

Check out these popular headlight upgrades for style and safety.

Family sticker on car window

Sporting those stick-figure family window stickers? You’re family-oriented

Most safety experts agree: Those popular “this is my family” stickers are straight up dangerous. They share your family composition, what your kids’ names are, how old they are, their hobbies, and even your dog’s name—all information that criminals can use to target you or your children. Yet despite these warnings, parents continue to display them prominently. Why? “It’s a way of establishing your place in the social hierarchy, declaring your status, and showing others you’re superior to their families,” Henney says.

Find out more seemingly innocent behaviours that pose huge security risks.

Car covered in bumper stickers
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Displaying a sports team’s logo? You’re the life of the party

Identifying yourself publicly with a sports team—whether that’s through a jersey, a hat, or a bumper sticker—is an easy way to feel like you’re part of that crowd, Henney says. “People take on the characteristics of their favourite teams,” she says. Your favourite team is a winner? A scrappy underdog? An up-and-coming all-star? Then, by extension, so are you.

Have a political bumper sticker? You’re outspoken

Slapping a political bumper sticker on your car is an easy way to share your political views, but it also shows that you feel like you’re on the outside of mainstream culture—regardless of what party or politician it is supporting, Henney says. These people derive satisfaction from being “outsiders” or part of a righteous minority, which is why they feel compelled to share it so publicly, she explains.

Check out 13 car cleaning tips that’ll have your ride looking like new.

Pick-up truck at beach
Photo: Shutterstock

Drive a tricked-out pickup? You may lack confidence

Contrary to popular belief, confident and self-assured people don’t drive the biggest, flashiest cars; rather, the bigger and more attention-seeking your car is, the less confident you likely feel, says Henney. “They’re compensating for feeling a lack of power somewhere by making up for it in their car,” she explains. “Why else would you have ‘Grave Digger’ as your car?”

You won’t believe how much these flashy celebrity cars went for at auction!

Sports utility vehicle
Photo: Shutterstock

Drive an SUV? Safety is a top concern

SUVs literally dominate the roadway, taking up more space than most cars, and lifting the driver up higher than everyone else. Combine that with the fact that they’re often used to ferry children around and you have someone who’s very worried about being safe if they end up in an accident.

Here are 20 car gadgets that make driving safer.

Car air freshener
Photo: Shutterstock

Got an exotic car freshener? Individuality is very important to you

There are practically as many car scents as there are drivers, and the one you choose to fill your car with can say something about your personality. Whether you love the outdoors, wish you were on the beach, or dream of drying your laundry in the sunshine, manufacturers have designed these scents to play into your sense of individuality.

Eliminate odours at the source with these car interior cleaning tips.

Opening trunk of SUV
Photo: Shutterstock

Does trash spill out every time you open the door? You’re a multi-tasker

If your car is overrun with junk mail, food wrappers, pop cans, old socks, and other detritus it could be a physical manifestation of your mental state, according to psychologist Nicole Cutts in Business2Community. “No matter what you drive, the way you maintain your car, inside and out, gives people some insight into your personality,” she says. And if it’s a mess then you may be telling others that you’re scattered, super-busy, a slob, or don’t care about health and cleanliness.

Now that you know what your car says about you, find out 13 car dealer tricks you’ll wish you’d known sooner.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published on Reader's Digest