So, you think you're a good driver? Your fellow commuters might disagree

(June 13, 2019) SEATTLE — Can you parallel park like a pro? Are you the master of merging? Do you dismiss dangerous driving distractions? According to the latest poll from PEMCO Insurance, Northwest drivers think highly of their own basic driving skills, but they question how well fellow commuters perform behind the wheel.

PEMCO's survey of Washington and Oregon drivers found that the vast majority of drivers rate themselves as "excellent" or "good" when it comes to proficiency in routine driving skills like parallel parking, merging, staying right except to pass, driving in the rain and avoiding distractions. But when asked to rate the abilities of fellow drivers, confidence among commuters dipped significantly across all categories.

Northwest drivers are most confident in their abilities to merge and dismiss distractions — about nine out of 10 respondents rate themselves with the highest marks in those categories. However, when the tables are turned, just 36% of those same drivers think that others always or usually pay close attention to avoid distractions.

Respondents are also especially critical of other drivers' ability to drive well in the rain. According to the PEMCO poll, half of all Northwest drivers (50%) say that other drivers do a fair or poor job of navigating when the weather is bad.

"I think it's safe to say that we could all improve a thing or two about our driving, but what's most important is to make safe choices, be courteous and to give yourself plenty of time to get where you need to go," said PEMCO spokesperson Derek Wing. "That said, it's always amusing to see that we think so highly of ourselves yet are so critical of our fellow commuters." 

Encouragingly, the poll found that some drivers are more forgiving than others. More than half of respondents under 35 (55%) reported that other drivers are excellent or good parallel parkers, and 46% of men, from all age groups, say that other drivers usually or always pay attention behind the wheel.

Speaking of men, the PEMCO poll found that males are the most confident respondents. When it comes to driving in rain, 92% of male drivers in Washington and 90% in Oregon rate their bad-weather driving as "excellent" or "good." Similarly, about nine out of 10 men in both Washington and Oregon (92%) rated themselves as excellent or good mergers.

These trends aren't unique to the Northwest — a national study by AAA found that eight out of 10 men consider their driving skills to be better than average, compared to the 73% of all drivers who consider their driving skills to be above average.

For a complete summary of PEMCO's poll results, visit where you'll find the responses collected by FBK Research of Seattle in January 2019.