On the Road: New Jersey

Boy oh boy do I have a lot to say about driving in New Jersey.

Let’s start with some oddities about the roads in New Jersey first. When you’ve got fairly big road (2 or more lanes) that has intersections with other roads, there are NO LEFT TURNS ALLOWED.

Yes, you read that right. NO LEFT TURNS. If you want to turn left, you generally have to go past the intersection and make a right onto a special loop-back road, and then make your left from the smaller road (i.e. if a big road is crossed by a smaller road, you can make a left from the small road onto the big road, but not vice versa). Sometimes even that’s not allowed, and from the smaller road you have to go across the intersection and take a loop-back on the right to merge back onto the big road (and wait at the intersection… again).

So whenever you want to go left, you have to go right. Yeah. Makes about as much sense as it sounds. (Making U-turns is just about as complicated, in case you were wondering.)

Okay, so crazy road rules aside, let’s just get this out there and say that New Jersey drivers are a bunch of wimps. It rained a bit (actually quite a bit) while I was in New Jersey, and I can understand people slowing down in the rain – but even when there was no rain, if someone was going slow on the highway (like, say, 10 MPH slower than the speed limit), instead of just bunching up around the slow person, ALL of the traffic would slow down… and down… and down… until there was a huge traffic jam, all caused by one slow person (or whatever caused the bunching up in the first place). As a Massachusetts driver, nothing was more infuriating to me. People were braking on the highways ALL THE TIME (and we’re talking Interstate highways here, as in 65 MPH major 4-lanes in each direction highways). And not just braking lightly – braking and slowing down 10 or more MPH, which just completely messed up the flow of traffic. I don’t know how to explain it, other than to say that the drivers there are just wimps or something.

And since people love to rag on Massachusetts drivers (supposedly the worst in the state), let me say that I got cut off more times on the highways in New Jersey than I did the entire trip home (once I was out of New Jersey). And I don’t just mean “cut off” as in someone got in front of me fairly close – I mean “cut off,” as in someone pulled in (without signaling) just a few inches in front of my car. While pulling a big trailer that blocks their rearward view. And then they slowed down.

So, in my completely unprofessional and biased opinion – New Jersey drivers SUCK, and their roads are completely messed up. (By the end of my trip I was wishing out loud for a simple cloverleaf that I could understand and navigate without having to look for special “right turn only” signs.)

Next up in this series: New York!

2 Responses

  1. soapdish September 23, 2006 / 3:42 pm

    Oh, it’s worse than you think. Sometimes in order to make a left hand turn you have to get off the right turn exit and then make a left onto the road you actually want to make a left onto. Every once in a while there’s even a genuine left turn lane. To make matters worse, you don’t know which of these is going to be the case until it you’re almost at the intersection and frequently too late to change once you’re dedicated.

    As for driving in the rain, I’ve never seen worse drivers than in Memphis, TN.

  2. Emily October 29, 2006 / 5:26 pm

    Driving in New Jersey IS one of the worst. The mustturnrighttoturnleft business makes me nuts.

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