94 percent of Northwest drivers say they will never give up their car
Many in Western Washington are experiencing longer commutes, and probably reading this article on their phone while stuck in traffic (remember, we have distracted driving laws), but few Northwest drivers actually have any intention of ever giving up their car. You’ll have to pry that wheel from their hand.
According to a PEMCO Insurance survey, 94 percent of Northwest drivers say they will never give up their cars no matter how many literal and figurative roadblocks are thrown at them.
“One in three respondents say that they have longer commutes than years passed,” company spokesman Derek Wing told KIRO Radio. “Yet surprisingly 94 percent of drivers still prefer to be behind the wheel for their commutes.”
When faced with additional traffic, Northwest drivers are simply getting creative by taking back roads, alternate routes, or shifting their work schedule to avoid rush hour traffic. Whatever it takes to avoid using mass transit.
Are Washingtonians just gluttons for punishment? It’s a bit more than that.
“The reasons they gave included things like convenience, and that driving to and from work is still the most efficient and fastest way to get there.”
Not to mention the added privacy, independence, and the ability to sing along with the radio without getting strange looks.
Northwest drivers spending more time in traffic
Fast as it may be, much of that driving time is spent commuting. A report by the Washington Post found that commuters collectively spent an extra 2.5 hours on average in transit last year. The national yearly average commute inched upwards from 26.6 minutes to 26.9 minutes, with Seattle easily clearing that at 31 minutes on average.
No matter how bad traffic gets, there doesn’t appear to be any cost, or delay, or transit-pushing talking points from regional leaders that will ever get most drivers to give up their cars.
“What would it take for people to change their behavior?” wondered Wing. “I think it would take something pretty major like the viaduct closing or maybe gas prices reaching a certain amount.”
Don’t bet on it, though.