More rudeness on the roads for drivers in the Pacific Northwest

A new independent survey showed drivers across the Seattle and Portland metro areas are seeing fewer courteous gestures from fellow commuters – like yielding, waving, signaling, or allowing someone to pass – than they once reported in years past.

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The survey, from PEMCO Mutual Insurance and FBK Research of Seattle, asked Washington and Oregon residents questions about driving habits and attitudes toward current Northwest issues. The average number of polite gestures per month went from 6.9 in 2015 to 5.7 in 2023.

In Seattle, 53% of drivers saw a nice gesture in 2018, but only 40% said they saw kindness at least five times per month in 2023.

And drivers across King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties are seeing more aggressive driving and rude gestures on the road today compared to 2015.

Forty-two percent of drivers in Seattle and Portland said they saw an act of aggression from another driver at least 10 times per month.

In Seattle, in 2015, 35% of drivers said they saw 10 or more aggressive acts like speeding, tailgating, and erratic maneuvers. Today, 43% of drivers saw aggressiveness.

Seattle parents in particular were more likely to admit to aggressive driving than their childless counterparts.

“17% of drivers with kids say they’re aggressive more than 10 times per month, while just 2% of child-free drivers say the same,” said PEMCO spokesperson Allison Leep.

That means parents were three times as aggressive on the roads.

As for the reason for the rudeness, Leep pointed to more drivers on the roads coupled with a stressful past couple of years.

“We’re in a hurry. And when we’re in a hurry, we’re on the offensive more than the defensive,” Leep said. “Certainly, our moods can impact us. If we’re in a bad mood before we even get behind the wheel, that carries out into our driving behaviors as well.”

Leep said this data showed what drivers can do to promote positive interactions and overall safety on the roads.

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“When we talk about places known for aggressive drivers, the Pacific Northwest doesn’t often come to mind for many of us, so we’ll be interested to continue tracking these attitudes over time.”

You can read the full survey results here.



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