It is a wonderful time of year. Winter has left us, and Spring is just starting to bloom. Warmer days and long weekends mean people are leaving their houses more to enjoy all the wonderful things New Jersey like to do when the weather gets nicer. That means something else as well. A lot more cars are on the road.
We thought this would be a great time to share our thoughts on some of the things that New Jersey drivers do that drive us a little nuts.
Please feel free to let us know what driving habits you see that make you cringe.
What really drives me crazy about other drivers, no pun intended, is the attitude that they always have the right of way no matter what. Whether it’s a side street, a highway on-ramp, a 2 or 4 way stop or even driving in a parking lot many drivers act like it is a free for all or some kind of video game with no rules. The other day I was driving on a main road and there was a side street leading up to it that had a stop sign. This other driver was going so fast, I could tell they weren’t going to stop so I made sure that I was right there to block them from cutting me off. I wish I had gotten a picture of the look they gave me. When you actually take your right of way and put them in their place they get mad at you beeping or giving you a dirty look or gesture all because you didn’t let them do something that is illegal.
Of course there is always the classic getting into a turn only lane and then going straight to bypass a bunch of other drivers. You are waiting in line just like everyone else but this other driver must be special as the rules don’t apply. They need to go and you must yield to them or else. What happens on the road is an analogy for life. People expect to be in a fair and equal situation where everyone has to follow the rules or gets in trouble for not doing so. No one likes a cheater in any aspect of life but there are plenty of them.
I just wonder what is going through these people’s minds. Do they think they are simply better or more important than everyone else? Do they think that driving is like the wild west? Where do they draw the line? If they don’t believe in following the law then is it okay if I get out of my car at the next intersection and slash their tires so that I and other people can get on our way without interference by an inconsiderate cheating driver? My friend actually confronted one of these people at a bank drive through and their reaction was exactly what you would expect : When he asked them about their behavior in a fairly polite tone, they wouldn’t look at him, they rolled up their window and sunk into their seat like a little weasel. They know what they did was wrong, dead wrong and they are ashamed and embarrassed about their behavior as they should be. But you can bet they were back to doing the same type of obnoxious driving behavior once they left the bank. People like this make driving an unpleasant experience.
My personal pet peeve is actually not for something that drivers do. It is for something they do not do. Let’s call it a passive driving offense. A lack of doing something that quite frankly shows a lack of common sense. I am talking about, of course, the blinker.
Way too many New Jersey drivers do not use their blinkers. I am astounded by the amount of people I see on a daily basis that will change lanes and not use their signal. Drivers will swerve across many lanes without so much as even a single blink. I have been cut off so many times without warning. C’mon people. It is not that difficult. It takes one damn second to turn a blinker on and another to turn it off. Let’s practice it together; lift your right or left hand, depending on the car you drive, and just flick your index finger. There! You did it. See how easy that was? I am not asking for much here. You are changing lanes or pulling off the road? Just take that one second, turn on your blinker, and you can be something that is rapidly disappearing from the roads. A safe, courteous driver.
PS: In a related note, don’t bother turning on your blinker once you’ve changed lanes. It doesn’t help us. I’ve seen a lot of this too.
My pet peeve about New Jersey drivers is what I call the presumptive left turn (PLT) problem. The PLT presents itself in two major examples that drive me crazy.
First, when there is a group of cars waiting at a red light (more than three, usually) and someone speeds past the cars to come to the stop line ahead of all the other cars. With more than three cars, the driver can’t tell who is turning left and who is just waiting for the light to turn green. All of a sudden the two drivers in the front are in a drag race when the light turns green. It’s ridiculous and easily corrected. Simply wait for the light to turn green and then proceed past the person (once you see that, in fact, they are turning) and don’t just go with the PLT. It keeps people from making a right turn from that lane, if possible, and it clumps up traffic when the light turns in your favor.
Second, is the PLT when a driver sees another car stopped in the road. Twice, I’ve stopped for a pedestrian in a crosswalk and another driver has maintained cruising speed and driven into the curb area to go around me. The first time it happened the pedestrian had just started across so wasn’t in immediate danger but the second time it happened I had to beep my horn to make sure the pedestrian didn’t get hit by the car speeding around me. Now, I try to position my car to the right so a car can’t pass me but that isn’t always possible. Come on people, getting around one car isn’t going to get you to the tanning booth that much earlier and you can avoid hitting a pedestrian or just being an outright jerk.
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