Driving anywhere in the United States can be hazardous, but New Jersey tops the list. Here are some observations while driving "Up North" on a recent business trip to the Garden State:
1. A right lane construction closure is just a game to see how many people can cut in line by passing you on the right as you sit in the left lane waiting for the same jerks to squeeze their way back in before hitting the orange construction barrels.
2. Turn signals will give away your next move. A real New Jersey driver never uses them.
3. Under no circumstances should you leave a safe distance between you and the car in front of you, or the space will be filled in by somebody else putting you in an even more dangerous situation.
4. Crossing two or more lanes in a single lane-change is considered “going with the flow.”
5. The faster you drive through a red light, the smaller the chance you have of getting hit.
6. Never get in the way of an older car that needs extensive bodywork. The other guy doesn’t have anything to lose.
7. Braking is to be done as hard and late as possible to ensure that your ABS kicks in, giving a nice, relaxing foot massage as the brake pedal pulsates. For those of you without ABS, it’s a chance to stretch your legs.
8. Construction signs tell you about road closures immediately after you pass the last exit before the traffic begins to back up.
9. The new electronic traffic warning system signs are not there to provide useful information. They are only there to make New Jersey look high-tech and to distract you from seeing the police car parked in the median.
10. Never pass on the left when you can pass on the right. It’s a good way to scare people entering the highway.
11. Speed limits are arbitrary figures, given only as suggestions and are apparently not enforceable in the metro area during rush hour.
12. Just because you’re in the left lane and have no room to speed up or move over doesn’t mean that a New Jersey driver flashing his high beams behind you doesn’t think he can go faster in your spot.
13. Please remember that there is no such thing as a shortcut during rush-hour traffic in New Jersey.
14. Always slow down and rubberneck when you see an accident or even someone changing a tire.
15. Throwing litter on the roads adds variety to the landscape, keeps the existing litter from getting lonely, and gives Adopt-a-highway crews something to clean up.
16. Everybody thinks their vehicle is better than yours, especially pickup truck drivers with stickers of Calvin peeing on a Ford, Dodge or Chevy logo.
17. Learn to swerve abruptly. New Jersey is the home of high-speed slalom driving thanks to NJDOT, which puts potholes in key locations to test drivers’ reflexes and keep them on their toes.
18. It is traditional in New Jersey to honk your horn at cars that don’t move the instant the light changes.
19. Seeking eye contact with another driver revokes your right of way.
20. Never take a green light at face value. Always look right and left before proceeding.
21. Remember that the goal of every New Jersey driver is to get there first, by whatever means necessary.
22. Snow, ice, fog, and rain are no reasons to change any of the previously listed rules. These weather conditions are God’s way ensuring a natural selection process for body shops, junkyards, and new vehicle sales.