Are you or your mate a better driver? It's a question with all kinds of innuendoes casting shadows on the basics. Does safer driving equate with better driving? Put experience into the equation. Add a little chance taking for spice. There's also that pest called distractions. East Contra Costa locals talked frankly about whether they or their mates are better behind the wheel.

Doug Warren of Brentwood said without hesitation, "I'm a better driver even though I take more chances. "She's a good driver but doesn't pay enough attention to other cars. She gets easily distracted by our daughter. She uses the phone when she shouldn't or she's fussing with the music player. But, to be fair, she obeys the law and never gets a ticket."

Joe Smith of Brentwood said he takes more chances and because of it, "My wife definitely is a better driver. She is a defensive driver. She constantly is scanning the road, looking around, anticipating problems. She is more observant and more patient than I am," he confessed.

Steve and Roxanne Campbell of Oakley each claimed to be a better driver. Roxanne said, "I'm better because I'm more cautious. My dad was a cop and he taught me to be lawful, careful, and patient. He yells at other drivers even though they can't hear him."

Steve countered with, "I'm much better. She gets distracted too easily. It can be with her makeup, a cell phone, the way the car smells, or a fly that sneaked into the car." Steve admitted he takes more chances and gets more tickets.

Doug and Allison Kittle of Oakley rate themselves equally. "We each have gotten one ticket over the past 20 years and we both avoid distractions. He's better for night driving. I'm more defensive and hit the brake a lot," she said. Doug added, "I don't trust other drivers. Youth drives too aggressively. And, old folks drive too cautiously."

Ernie Young of Brentwood said he's the winner in his household. "She simply doesn't pay enough attention to the road and anticipate problems by looking far enough ahead. Yeah, she also gets more tickets than I do," he said.

Oakley's Sabrina Sloan diplomatically said her husband is better. "It's his overall driving even though he takes more chances and gets more tickets," she said. "I probably am more responsible as a driver and think I am safer, taking fewer chances."

Teresa Arruda of Antioch said she and her husband are about the same. "Neither one of us have gotten a traffic ticket. We both carefully avoid any driver distractions. We have a 6-year-old and constantly are trying to teach him about safety on the road and how to avoid accidents."

Brentwood's Nancy Gordon said it's a draw between her and her mate. "He may be slightly better because he does more driving. But we both are very careful and almost never take any chances. I suppose I get more distracted with kids in the car."

Then she added with a smile, "My mind also wanders a lot."

Jo Arnow of Discovery Bay said it's no contest. "He's much worse," she said. "He takes more chances and his side vision isn't good. Sometimes he speeds up to be first. He's been driving more than 60 years. I think it's about time he learned to be less aggressive."

Contact Ed Arnow at BrentwoodBuzz@aol.com.