Our Northwest

Poll: Most drivers feel pressured to go to work in snow

Wednesday, December 9, 2015by  Jon Osterberg

When it snows, cloaking neighborhood streets and clogging arterials and freeways, do you feel pressured by your boss to commute to work?
     Sixty percent of you answered “yes” in our latest PEMCO Insurance Northwest Poll.
     What makes this troubling is that 38% of you also said you’re uncomfortable driving in winter weather.
     We also learned more women are uncomfortable driving in snow and ice, 23% versus 5% of men. As you’d expect, more Washington and Oregon drivers west of the Cascades say they’re less skilled than others at winter driving, 16% versus 7% for motorists east of the mountains.
     Yet despite all of that, 77% of commuters prefer to drive themselves to work in the snow.
     The 77% seems at odds with those who admit discomfort at winter driving, but perhaps it’s explained by the other end of our poll spectrum: 43% of all drivers said they’re more skillful in snow and ice than other drivers, while 41% overall said they’re equally skilled.
     I must commute with a lot of those less-skilled people. Every time there’s significant snowfall, I’m appalled at how many people abandon their cars in a traffic lane on SR 520 in Bellevue. They don’t even pull over to the shoulder.
     Yes, there is a safer way to abandon your car in a snowstorm.
     My advice to reluctant commuters: If you have the option, telecommute on snow days. If you must report to work, see if you can carpool with someone who’s skilled and comfortable with winter driving. If that driver’s car has 4-wheel or all-wheel drive, even better.
     Read more, including winter-driving tips, in our latest news release.

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