Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Great Garden State, part 2

This is my exit. Woo hoo!

I have now lived here in NJ for 9 years. I have driven from one corner of the state to the other: Hudson to Cumberland, Sussex to Cape May. (That sounds like a line from "U can't touch this" by MC Hammer: "I've been around the state, from Sussex to Cape May. It's Hammer! MC Hammer! Yo Hammer! and the rest can go and play. U can't touch this!"--Did I get those words right?)

I have concluded that people from out of state who want to drive anywhere in this state ought really to take a special test giving them permission to drive here. I'm looking at you my Quebecois friend! Two weekends ago, we were driving down US 1 in Mercer County, near Princeton, (a multilane highway with traffic lights, if you've never been) this guy in a red sedan with Quebec license plates tried TWICE to make a left turn when there was no left turn permitted in the intersection. He almost got us killed. It's called a jughandle, Buddy. Surely they have those in Montreal. And if not, well, you shouldn't be driving here if you can't read "NO LEFT TURN" on a big sign hanging over the intersection . And we're not putting it in French for you. I know you learn English in Quebec, jerkface.

And drivers from Pennsylvania, can we talk? I love you. I am a native of PA. It's wonderful. You're just out of your league driving here. First you must realize that everyone on our limited access highways is going at least 10 mph over the speed limit. If you'd like to drive 65 in the 65 mph zone, that's fine. I'm cool like that. But for the love of everything holy, get out of the middle lane. I know your driver's ed teacher probably told you to keep the right lane clear so that others getting on can merge easily (mine did. His name was Mr. Bill. He wore ties with his golf shirts. I don't think he bathed regularly. I wish I were kidding.) Well, New Jerseyans are excellent mergers, so just get in the right lane where you belong. Thanks, hon.

And people from New York and Connecticut should really not be allowed to drive outside of their home states at all. Those people are crazy. If you're on the Turnpike and some guy weaves in between seven cars while doing 85 in a 65 zone, he's probably from NY or CT. Look at the plates if you can. They're the blue and white blur on the back of the speeding car.

I know it can be confusing to drive here. The streets aren't well marked. The signs for the Parkway and Turnpike are approximately 10 inches across, makaing them hard to see when you're trying to keep up with us. The traffic circles that are everywhere are also confusing. And jughandles can be weird, too. I get it. I know you're trying. This is all just further evidence that, for everyone's safety--especially yours, your home state's DMV should offer a "Jersey Driving Certification" for all of you who might like to come and enjoy the wonderful things NJ has to offer you (beaches, mountains, camping, skiing, tomatoes, corn, blueberries). And I'll concede that maybe those of us licensed to engage in combat drive in NJ ought to at least take ettiqette lessons in order to be permitted to drive outside of the NJ-NY-CT area.

Let's just be careful out there.


Christine M said...

Hey - you're showing my exit! And playing my song. It's true that driving in NJ takes a special kind of person (one a bit crazy perhaps). Yesterday we saw someone take a right hand exit from the left hand lane (across three lanes of traffic on rte 9).

Barb, sfo said...

LOL! I am right there with you :)

We not only have all the Philly drivers, we have the illegal aliens with their illegal PA plates (apparently easier to get than illegal NJ plates) one newspaper editorial said one time, "practicing their third world driving skills on Rt. 130."
It isn't pretty....

Christine the Soccer Mom said...

LOL! Former 82B here. I agree, it's WAY confusing with jughandles and all, but for goodness' sake, READ the signs that say not to turn left!

We'll be headed that way for a weekend with my Nana at the end of the month, too. (82A) Then back for my high school reunion Thanksgiving weekend. Thankfully, Travel Man is not confused or frightened of the oddities that are NJ driving patterns, and he's successfully navigated through NYC, too.

Kate P said...

Heh heh--I guess I'm an exception to the problem Pennsylvanian drivers, because my mom is from North Jersey. It just would not feel right if there weren't jughandles! In fact, there's a jughandle right before we get to the family home (where my aunt and uncle now live).

There were definitely some NY-plated cars whizzing by me on the way to the shore a couple weeks ago. And a slow-moving Floridian who would _not_ get out of the left lane--definitely needed your suggested NJ-driver-certification!