Driving in New Jersey*

*Disclaimer: If you’re from NJ and I know you personally, this excludes you. This goes out to all the a-holes that we (my husband and I) encounter and want to punch in the face.

Look, I don’t vent often. But I needed to get this off my chest today.

In New Jersey, specifically in northern NJ in and around Bergen county, we’ve come to see that these MFers CANNOT drive. At. All. Like, not at all. Seriously, I frequently question who the hell taught people how to drive in this state because it is really, really bad.  Before I go further, I KNOW every city, state, etc has their share of bad drivers. They are everywhere. I’ve lived most of my life in Michigan, so the bulk of my driving experience is there. However, I’ve driven to and around other places and I can say without a shadow of a doubt, NJ (and NY…mmhmm, I haven’t forgotten about you) drivers are THE WORST!!

Oh my gosh, I can’t even express how upset I get when we drive. I’m getting upset just TYPING this! For me, driving is serious business. You’re operating a freaking large machine that can literally kill someone if you operate it incorrectly. You should NOT take risks in your car. NEVER. The older I get, the more pissed I get that people do some really dangerous sh*t when driving. Living in this area, I have never in my life seen so many people take such dangerous risks driving. Let me share some stories. Oh, you KNOW I have stories!

1. The Impatient Drivers: Out here, everyone is in a hurry to get somewhere. I get it. It’s the east coast. (And before you even say, “Well if you don’t like it, leave”, TRUST me when I say that we are trying to do just that.) Just because you’re in a hurry, that doesn’t mean you speed up behind us, swerve to the left, pass us and then cut us off because you’re trying to get to your exit! This scenario happens SO frequently out here. Look, I’ve seen this happen in MI. It’s not new. But out here, I’ve seen this happen literally every time we are out. People are in such a hurry that they can’t bare to drive behind someone for just a few seconds (literally) to get to their exit. The impatience out here is unbelievable.

On the flip side, if they DO drive behind you, I can guarantee you that they’ll be tailgating you. Annoying.

2. The More-Important-Than-You Drivers: Lots of people out here think they’re more important than you. They think where they’re going is waaaaay more important than where you’re going. I can guarantee it’s not. Especially when I’ve seen people cut in front us, just to get to the mall. It’s the mall. It’s not going anywhere, dumba**.

These are also the drivers we see over and over again attempting to squeeze in front of us at the last minute when a lane is ending. OR, they won’t let others in when the lane is ending. Where we live, there are a lot of regular roads to go from three to two lanes which cause traffic to inevitably back up. I’m fascinated by this because you would think that most of the people driving in this area, would know already which roads did this, right? It makes sense to me that if you live in the area or drive through an area frequently, you learn the roads well enough to react early to lanes ending, etc. Nope. Not here. People either know it and don’t care or … they just don’t care.

There’s also an issue with people merging onto these weird divided “highways” (or routes, as they call them). More on that craziness below in my “bonus” section.

3. The Slick Drivers: Lots of drivers out here try to be slick and do things as if NO one sees them, but in reality, we ALL see what they’re doing. Take for example, this dude that tried to get in front of my husband while stopped at a light. There were three lanes: one for people turning left, a middle lane for thru-traffic and one for those turning right. The man was in the right lane, while my husband was in the middle lane. The guy starts easing up and over into my husband’s lane. My husband starts moving up. The guy moves up, looks at my husband and throws his hands up to protest. My husband stares him down. The guy looks away, then looks back at my husband. My husband is STILL staring him down because this guy is being a complete a-hole by trying to get into the lane without even “asking” or putting on his signal (<–more on these bastards in a bit). The light turns green and the guy takes off.

That scenario happens ALL the time! I’m not exaggerating. ALL THE TIME! What the hell is wrong with these people? It’s like, if you want to get into another lane, driver etiquette would be to move up and see if you can get the attention of the other driver. If so, “ask” if you can get into the lane. This type of etiquette is completely nonexistent in this area. They just bogart their way into lanes, etc without any sort of signaling whatsoever. Ridiculous.

4. The I’m-Too-Good-For-Signals Drivers: Oh. My. God. People who do not use signals…there’s a special place in the 10th level of hell for you. I don’t hate a lot of things, but this I HATE. Not even sugarcoating it for you, folks. If you are someone that doesn’t use your signals, don’t let me find out. Turn signals are there for a reason. USE THEM!

In my travels, I know signal use varies from area to area, so this isn’t specific to NJ. But I definitely notice that out here, most people do not use them. Most times when people don’t use it, it’s often in situations where they NEED a signal. Think of an intersection. Many times, we’ve been at an intersection and a car is across the street from us. They do not have a signal on. You think, ok, they’re trying to go straight (come across the street to where we are). Fine. But when traffic clears and the car turns!! Where’s the signal!? This happens ALL THE TIME. I swear, driver’s training goes out the window with people in this area. It’s so dangerous to drive this way.

BONUS: This isn’t a driver issue, but rather a driving issue. And maybe in some cases, this is why people drive so poorly out here. In this area, the layout of the roads is absolutely horrendous. Not even joking, it’s BAD. Neither of us have ever been in a city/county/state where the roads did not make sense like they don’t out here. My husband has even driven across the country twice and swears he’s never been to an area where the layout of the roads were so badly planned.

Our area has two major divided “highways” (routes). No big deal, right? Wrong. Here’s the problem. Along these roads, there are businesses (restaurants, shops, etc) that lie on either side. These roads have very few traffic lights (I’d guess they are about a mile apart?) and the speed limit is about 50 mph (although, people seem to drive a lot faster). It’s a bad situation. I had to Google map an example so you can see for yourself. (Click to enlarge.)

nj_route17First, in this picture, do you see the solid white line? That’s the lane for people to use if they want to turn into a business. Uhhh, what? If I remember my driver’s training correctly (and I do), solid white lines mean “Do NOT cross”. You’re not supposed to cross into a lane with a solid white line. For example, when there’s construction, they will paint over the dashed lines in the road and make them solid so that you don’t switch lanes. Out here, they’ve painted a solid line to create a lane to use to turn into a business. Not cool NJ. Just keep it dashed because now, you’re making up road rules. People will understand that if they’re driving in that lane, they will have to drive slower because others in front of them may try to turn into a business. There’s a major road in MI where I’m from called Van Dyke Road. It is a large divided road, similar to this one above and the speed limit is about the same. On Van Dyke, there are no designated turn lanes and people know that if you’re in the far right lane, you will have to drive slower because people may be turning down side streets or into businesses. No problem. Why NJ chose to create these lanes, I don’t know.

Next, and this is the WORST, to get to a business on the left side of the street, you have to take a turnabout. I think it’s safe to say that we HATE these things. Why? Because they are SO hard to find!! Check out the next picture below. The arrow shows the exit for the turnabout. If you click the pic, you’ll see there’s NO sign to tell you this is how you make a left-hand turn!

nj_route17exit

The signage in this area is TERRIBLE! (Sorry, I’m trying hard not to capitalize every word, but I can’t help it!) And of course, if you miss the turnabout, you’ve got to go for another half a mile or so before you find another (IF you can find it). Terrible. The signage in this area needs a serious, serious overhaul. And yes, it’s like this all over our county. When we venture outside of our county, there are the normal left-hand turning lanes or you can simply turn at a light. So, we know it’s not crazy like this everywhere. 

*whew* I think I’m done. I actually just thought of something else, but I’ll spare you. You’ve endured enough of my venting for the day.

To all my NJ friends, I love you! Sorry I can’t say the same for the rest of your fellow Jerseyans. Or your roads. 🙂

-t

p.s. OMG, look at what I found!!! See #20!!! 21 Questions New Jerseyans Are Tired of Hearing

p.p.s Well, looks like there’s PROOF of my findings. The Worst Drivers in America Live In…

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