NW poll: Your bumper sticker may spur other drivers to be rude

SEATTLE - If you've noticed other drivers cutting you off or acting rudely toward you on the road, it may be time to take a close look at your bumper stickers.

A new poll conducted by PEMCO Insurance found that about one in five motorists in the Northwest admit they are less courteous to drivers sporting bumper stickers with messages they oppose.

The same poll also found that about the same proportion of motorists also are more polite to drivers displaying stickers they agree with.

The poll found that men are equally as likely as women to be at least slightly more courteous when they see messages they agree with, but they're more discourteous when they see messages they oppose (23 percent of men vs. 13 percent of women).

Northwest drivers under age 35 also are significantly more likely than their older counterparts to change their driving behavior based on their reaction to bumper stickers or personalized plates, the PEMCO poll found.

Younger drivers are more than twice as likely to be more polite when they agree with messages (37 percent vs. 14 percent), and they're three times as likely to be more discourteous when they disagree with messages (34 percent vs. 11 percent).

"While the poll generally supports that your bumper sticker won't earn you special treatment on the road, you might have the best luck merging in front of men or drivers under 35, but only if they share your sentiment," said PEMCO spokesperson Jon Osterberg.

In addition, the poll found that about 25 percent of drivers in Washington and Oregon say they adorn their vehicles with bumper stickers or car magnets. And of those, men and women under 55 are almost twice as likely as their older counterparts to have bumper stickers (30 percent vs. 16 percent).

In fact, women in Washington, those who are younger, and people with children in the household are the likeliest bunch to accessorize their bumpers with personal messages, the poll revealed.

The independent poll of 1,200 drivers in Washington and Oregon is considered accurate to within 4 percentage points.
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