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Poll: NW residents more likely to help dogs in distress than drivers


During these dog days of summer, a new poll from PEMCO Insurance reveals that Northwest residents are more likely to help a canine cooped up in a car than they are to lend a hand to a fellow driver in distress.

According to the latest PEMCO Insurance Northwest Poll, nearly three-quarters (71 percent) of Washington and Oregon residents say that if they encountered a four-legged friend trapped in a hot car, they’d be very or even extremely likely to spring into action to liberate the pooch from danger.

But the poll finds that Northwest motorists are considerably less likely to lend a hand to fellow drivers in distress. Just half (58 percent) of respondents say they’d help a driver stalled on the side of the road by stopping or calling 911. Instead, about one-third (29 percent) say they’d rather keep cruising by and wouldn’t attempt to help.

According to the poll, of those who are reluctant to help other drivers, a majority (65 percent) say their own safety is their biggest concern. On the other hand, nine out of 10 respondents say they’d take action to help a trapped dog, either by calling the police, breaking the car’s window or finding the driver, because they care about the dog’s well-being and intervening is the “right thing to do.”

“It’s interesting to learn what motivates the ‘good Samaritan’ in all of us,” said PEMCO spokesman Derek Wing. “Of course, personal safety always comes first, but looking out for each other might make us all a little safer on the roads and at home, regardless of whether those we help have four legs or two.”

The poll reveals the biggest disparity in how women would respond to distressing situations. Just one-quarter (22 percent) would stop for a stranded driver, but more than three times as many women (74 percent) say they’d be very likely to come to a canine’s rescue.

“Regardless of gender, a common theme we saw in the poll was the notion that respondents might not act because they figured someone else would handle the situation, or they assumed the situation was already resolved. It makes us wonder if drivers would feel the same way if the tables were turned and they were the one in need,” Wing said.

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

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