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Thursday, March 26, 2009

How to drive in Jersey

Seriously, there are only two things needed to drive effectively in NJ:

A horn and a middle finger.

Everything else is superfluous, including knowing where you are going. For those of you who live in Jersey or have lived there, these things may come as no surprise.

For those who haven't traveled there before:

Beware, Be Prepared and Be Very, Very Afraid.

1. You must first learn to pronounce the city names. It's Nork - rhymes with Fork, not New-ark. Also, Trenton is not pronounced Tren-ton, it is Trent-in.

2. The morning rush hour is from 5 AM to NOON. The evening rush hour is from NOON to 7 PM. Friday's rush hour starts on Thursday morning.

3. The minimum acceptable speed on the turnpike is 85 mph. On the parkway it's 105 or 110. Anything less is considered "Sissy." (Just ask the Governor)

4. Forget the traffic rules you learned elsewhere. Jersey has its own version of traffic rules. For example, cars/trucks with the loudest muffler go first at a four-way stop; the trucks with the biggest tires go second; However, in Monmouth and Burlington counties, SUV-driving, cell phone-talking moms ALWAYS have the right of way.

5. If you actually stop at a yellow light, you will be rear ended, cussed out, and possibly shot.

6. Never honk at anyone. EVER! Seriously. It's another offense that can get you shot.

7. Road construction is permanent and continuous in all of Jersey . Detour barrels are moved around for your entertainment pleasure during the middle of the night to
make the next day's driving a bit more exciting.

8. Watch carefully for road hazards such as drunks, skunks, dogs, cats, barrels, cones, celebs , rubber-neckers, shredded tires, cell-phoners, deer and other road kill, and folks with paper cups at intersections.

9. Map Quest does NOT work here -- none of the roads are where they say they are or go where they say they do and all the Turnpike EZ Pass lanes are moved each night once again to make your ride more exciting.

10. If someone actually has their Turn Signal ON, wave them to the shoulder immediately to let them know it has been "accidentally activated."

11. If you are in the left lane and only driving 70 in a 55-65mph zone, you are considered a road hazard and will be "flipped off" accordingly. If you return the flip, you'll be shot.

12. Do not try to estimate travel time -- just leave Monday afternoon for Tuesday appointments, by noon Thursday for Friday appointments, and right after church on Sunday for anything on Monday morning.



DaYouthGuy said...

Yes, that's been pretty much my experience when I've had to drive to Nork. I really enjoy the fact that the way I get TO the Diocesan Offices will can NOT be simply reversed to to get me home. And no I can't explain to you where it is I'm talking about. The interstate just ends in an off ramp but there is no corresponding on ramp at that some point.

Maybe just park n ride from a suburb next time...

Kirkepiscatoid said...

#4: Don't forget those cell phone SUV moms have dibs on your clergy parking space...

#7: If it's any consolation, the Missouri state flower is the orange traffic barrel.

(Just a few laugh lines to break up all my serious "retreat thoughts!" More on all that when I return.

Anonymous said...

I was born and raised in NJ and this is so TRUE. I

suzanne said...

The horn and middle finger is pretty much all you need to drive in the entire Northeast corridor!

This was a great read and thank you. You brightened my dreary day.

Anonymous said...

Yikes, the only time I traveled through Joysie, was once on a trip from CT to Maryland. I passed through unscathed, and I'm guessing I was quite lucky now! Great post Eliz.

PseudoPiskie said...

When I moved home I had a major struggle getting used to driving 55 mph or slower, expecting the car ahead to stop at a yellow light and people questioning why I locked my car at the grocery store. Of course, how I drove in NJ for 5 years without an accident is still a wonderment. I could never make that Friday night drive to Philly on I-95 now. I'd be terrified.

St. James said...

How much longer will it before the entire nation east of the Missisippi is paved with asphalt?

VTcrone said...

On yeah, that's NJ. I only had one accident in the 22 years that we lived there and that was in the first year. I was down in Edison on Rte 2, sitting at a light with 2cars ahead of me and one car behind me, when I realized the truck behind that car wasn't stopping. (His brakes weren't working.)I quickly braced my neck to prevent whiplash and after the crash I jumped out of my car and screamed at the very upset truck driver, "What the F**k were you doing?!" (My car was totaled in the end.) I worked the night shift for years and I have lots of stories of driving the roadways of NJ. One of the main problems is that it is the most populous state for its' size. (In VT we have one representative to the US Congress, while NJ has 13 reps.)

JCF said...

If driving in Michigan, always bring a ladder (you'll need it, to climb out of the potholes)