Poll reveals bumper stickers anger some drivers

You might think twice about pasting a bumper sticker on your car, unless the message is bland and inoffensive.
   Our new PEMCO Poll reveals that although just 25% of Northwest drivers have bumper stickers or vanity plates on their cars, a sizable number say they react when they see a message they don't like: 18% admit they become rude drivers.
   That number jumps when you focus only on younger drivers: 37% of those under 35 say they're more polite if they agree with a bumper-sticker message, while 34% admit they're discourteous if they disagree.
   Happily, most bumper stickers around here – 49% – tout groups, clubs, and sports teams, often fairly innocuous associations. Another 21% of bumper stickers aim for humor.
   The ones I suspect might raise some hackles are the 15% of bumper stickers that reflect political opinions or preferences. And some drivers may be put off by the 13% that show religious opinions or preferences.
   And let's be honest, even in the harmless realm of sports, I'll wager there are Huskies, Cougs, Ducks, and Beavers who are less inclined to let each other merge if their cars flaunt their alma mater's logo.
   In all the years I've driven, I've put exactly one bumper sticker on a car I owned. That was my 1961 Impala, which seemed ancient to me when I bought it in 1972. My bumper sticker eschewed new-car snobbery. It said: IT AIN'T THE YEARS, IT'S THE MILES
   Driving in to work this week I saw a bumper sticker that read, "The closer you get, the slower I drive." I admit, that sticker and the car's driver made me angry. But for good reason, I think.
   He was a poky left-lane camper who, despite a wide-open right-hand lane, refused to move aside.

by  Jon Osterberg



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