There are so many types of drivers in New Jersey, and these are just some of the ones you’re probably going to see on the road.
1. The Honkers
I’m a firm believer that horns are for emergency use only [yes, being cut off on the Parkway justifies an emergency]. Enter New Jersey drivers. Going 55 in a 55 mph zone, slowing down to make a turn, or hesitating for longer than 0.2 seconds when the light turns green are definitely enough to warrant a honk from the “Honkers.”
2. The Left-Lane Hoggers
Especially on highways, the left lane the passing lane—or, better yet, in New Jersey, the left lane is the “fast lane.” The unspoken rule amongst NJ drivers is that the left lane is reserved for two kinds of drivers: those who go at least 10 mph over the speed limit or those who need to pass another car holding up one of the right lanes. Breaking this unspoken rule is, unfortunately, pretty common with drivers in the garden state; you have the drivers who drive under the speed limit in the left lane or the drivers who use the left lane to drive for extended lengths of time. Bottom line: stay out of the left lane unless you’re driving over the speed limit or quickly passing.
3. The “What’s-a-turn-signal?” Drivers
Cars. Come. With. Blinkers. For. A. Reason. In theory, drivers are supposed to use their blinkers for turns, merges, and switching lanes. In reality, New Jersey drivers use their blinkers for…nothing, they don’t use their blinkers. Don’t be that driver, use your signals!
4. The “Bird-Lover”
There’s something in the water in New Jersey that breeds aggressive, sometimes vicious drivers. If one of these drivers thinks you have wronged them on the road in some way [however small that may be], be prepared for a barrage of insults, curse words, and the obligatory middle finger. When I was a young driver, 17 or 18, I tried to pass a slow-driving car on the right, and we happened to pull up at the same red light; when both cars stopped, the middle-aged male driver got out of his car, and walked over to my window to personally deliver a stream of expletives and make me pee my pants.
5. The Jughandle Jerks
If you’re not from New Jersey, you probably don’t know what a “jughandle” is. Jughandles are like traffic circles on steroids, designed to strike ire and fear in the hearts of drivers across the state. Are jughandles confusing? Hell yes. Is that an excuse to cut across three lanes of traffic going around a [probably dangerous] curve because you missed your turn-off? No. No, it’s not.
6. The Merge-Misunderstanders
While learning to drive, I was taught that merges [the joining of lanes] are meant to act like a zipper, alternating between one car from each lane. No one in New Jersey follows this unspoken rule. Instead, NJ drivers would rather tailgate the car in front of them or ride along the shoulder than let someone in front of them. Not only is this dangerous, it’s also incredibly annoying—so, just don’t do this.
7. The Texters [Or Otherwise-Distracted Drivers]
These drivers aren’t exclusively reserved for New Jersey, but it seems like they’re getting more and more common [I once pulled up next to a woman curling her eyelashes and putting on a full face of makeup while going 55 mph on a highway]. They’re also probably the worst out of this whole list. Texting, or doing anything else but driving while driving is dangerous and stupid.
8. The Tailgaters and High-Beam Flashers
If you’re trying to make the driver in front of you nervous or angry, tailgate them or repeatedly flash your high-beams in order to blind them in their rear view mirror. Riding someone’s tail and abusing your flashers doesn’t get you to your destination any faster.
9. The “Rubber-Burners”
New Jersey drivers are notorious for trying to cut across multiple lanes of traffic at once while paying no attention to anyone in their path. In fact, this is so common, NJ coined the term “Jersey slide” or “Jersey swerve” to name that tendency to get from the left lane to the right or exit lane in one fell swoop. Pay attention to your GPS and the exit numbers and you won’t have to burn rubber across the highway to make your exit. This is one of the worst types of drivers.
10. The Rare “Good” Driver
Although often few and far between, this refers to a few different kinds of drivers. It could be the courteous driver who stops to let you pull out in front of them, or the driver who moves out of the left lane to let you pass, or even the driver who waves thank you when you let them pass.