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Poll: Northwest drivers getting more aggressive, especially Millennials

(KOMO Photo)

SEATTLE -- Are Northwest drivers getting more stressed out? They're apparently at least driving more aggressively, according to a poll by Pemco Insurance.

Drivers in Washington and Oregon now admit to driving aggressively -- as in speeding, tailgating, or driving erratically, too -- 2.1 times per month. That's a 62 percent increase from a similar poll conducted in 2015, but perhaps blame Millennials for the spike?

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, Pemco said. Among those who admit to 10 or more times of aggression a month, 13 percent of Millennials said yes, while just 4 percent of others said so.

"But these increases in rude driving are modest compared to the cutthroat scenarios that commuters say they see playout on the road," Pemco said. "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)."

Washington drivers overall were a bit more aggressive than Oregon drivers by a 2.2 to 1.9 margin.

Pemco spokesperson Derick Wing said there could be a number of reasons drivers are more aggressive around here these days.

"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,” Wing said. “Whatever the reason, these results suggest that tensions are rising.”

But on the plus side, Wing said drivers across the Northwest exhibit considerate behaviors like yielding, signaling in advance or giving a courtesy wave an average of 8.4 times per month, according to their poll. The poll also found that drivers witness 6.7 polite behaviors from others each month.

“It’s encouraging to see that drivers here feel our own good deeds outweigh the bad," Wing said. "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."


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