Most drivers think they know how much they can drive over the speed limit without drawing attention from law enforcement officers, and many take advantage of the "buffer zone," according to a new poll of Washington and Oregon drivers by Pemco Insurance.
Two-thirds of Oregon drivers think they can add a few miles per hour while driving interstates without being pulled over, and more than half admit they add as much as 9 mph above the speed limit.
In Washington, about half of drivers believe there is a freeway buffer zone. A majority of those drivers--59 percent--set the threshold at 4 mph or less over the legal speed limit, according to the Pemco poll.
"Oregon's lower freeway speed limit, set at 65, may explain why Oregon drivers think there's a higher tolerance for speeding," Pemco spokesperson Jon Osterberg said in a statement. "Regardless, data shows that speeding causes more crashes and fatalities."
The insurance company poll also found that nine out of 10 Washington drivers admit they've exceeded the speed limit at least once, and half of all Washington drivers say they speed at least some of the time. The finding also holds true for Oregon drivers.
Most residents of either state who admit to speeding say they're simply keeping up with traffic flow.
"Although most of us speed at least once in a while, the major takeaway here is to remember that increased speed equals increased danger of physical harm, whether the police catch you or not," Osterberg said.
Speeding can also lead to higher car insurance rates for drivers who are ticketed.