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Aggressive driving is on the rise, but Northwest commuters blame others for being rude

Wednesday, January 16, 2019by  PEMCO Insurance

​Drivers across the Northwest are regularly faced with moments where they must make a split-second decision – to be considerate of others on the road, or to assert themselves behind the wheel. And while a new poll from PEMCO Insurance reveals that Northwest drivers are becoming increasingly aggressive on the road, most believe that their fellow motorists engage in more rude or dangerous driving behaviors than they do.

Whether it's speeding, tailgating or driving erratically, aggressive driving among most Washington and Oregon drivers is more prevalent today than it was in 2015, when PEMCO last asked about drivers' behavior behind the wheel. According to PEMCO's latest poll, drivers now admit to acting aggressive about 2.1 times per month, up from an average of 1.3 risky behaviors reported in 2015.

The poll found that millennials, in particular, are becoming notably more aggressive on the road, compared to their older counterparts. Drivers under 35 admit to an average of 3.3 risky maneuvers per month, compared to 2.0 aggressive acts four years ago, while aggression from drivers over 35 has remained the same at about once per month.

But these increases in rude driving are modest compared to the cutthroat scenarios that commuters say they see playout on the road. According to the poll, drivers say they see almost five times more acts of aggression in other drivers than they admit to committing themselves (2.1 compared to 9.7).

"There could be a number of reasons why drivers are more aggressive now than they were a few years ago – maybe it's because of the seemingly never-ending list of highway construction projects, our increased commute times, or simply because there are more cars on the road," said PEMCO Spokesperson Derek Wing. "Whatever the reason, these results suggest that tensions are rising."

But not all hope for highway harmony is lost. Drivers across the Northwest also say they exhibit considerate behaviors like yielding, signaling in advance or giving a courtesy wave an average of 8.4 times per month. The poll found that drivers witness 6.7 polite behaviors from others each month, as well.

"It's encouraging to see that drivers here feel our own good deeds outweigh the bad. It's our hope that we can all see the goodness in our fellow commuters when we're in the thick of traffic woes, too. Regardless, when we're in those split-second situations, deciding whether to be considerate or stand our ground, PEMCO urges drivers to continue making decisions that keep us all safe when we're on the road," Wing said.

For a complete summary of PEMCO's poll results, visit, where you'll find the responses collected by FBK Research of Seattle in June 2018.


About the PEMCO Insurance Northwest Poll

PEMCO Insurance commissioned this independent survey, conducted by FBK Research of Seattle, that asked Washington and Oregon residents questions about driving habits and attitudes toward current Northwest issues. The sample size, 600 respondents in Washington and 600 in Oregon, yields an accuracy of +/- 4.1 percent at the 95 percent confidence level. In other words, if this study were conducted 100 times, in 95 instances the data will not vary by more than the associated error range.


About PEMCO Insurance

PEMCO Insurance is a true Northwest company providing auto, home, and boat insurance to our neighbors since 1949. Consistently ranked highest in customer satisfaction, people are the heart of our business. They can depend on us to anticipate and support their changing needs. PEMCO is committed to serving organizations that positively impact our local communities. We were started by a Seattle schoolteacher and stay true to our roots by focusing on nonprofits and organizations that support youth, education, and public safety. To learn more, visit

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