Our Northwest

We love backseat drivers. Sort of.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018by  Derek Wing

GettyImages-486832777.jpgOh, we Northwest drivers are a tolerant bunch. We resist the urge to tell passengers where to go when they (literally) tell us where to go.

 That's the upshot of the latest PEMCO Northwest Poll, which revealed about three-quarters of Northwesterners say they're fine with passengers who chime in with driving directions. Slightly fewer than half (45%) don't even lose their sunny disposition when someone comments on their driving techniques. And even more surprising, more than half (59%) don't secretly wish the passenger airbag would deploy when someone changes the temperature or radio station without asking.

 But before you think all that Northwest nice is one-sided, it turns out passengers are pretty nice, too. While 63% say they've suggested directions to a driver, only 32% say they'd critique someone's driving, and a mere 36% would spontaneously reach for the radio or heat controls.

 There is one thing that makes passengers lose their cool, though: drivers who use their phones behind the wheel. Most (83%) say they're either "extremely or very" bothered by that. Driving too fast or erratically also ranks as a big concern for 71% of passengers.

 The Poll offered no insight as to why we seem so easygoing. Perhaps we feel that with our clogged roadways, we can use all the help we can get. Or could it be that GPS has desensitized us to taking directions from someone other than ourselves?

 Maybe those relaxed attitudes even will make it easier for us to surrender control once driverless cars hit the highway in more than an experimental way. Except for the radio and heat. I'll always be captain of that ship.

Read the complete PEMCO Northwest Poll, in which Seattle's FBK Research surveyed 1,200 Washington and Oregon residents. 

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