Three Ways New Jersey Handicaps its Drivers

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Let me preface this post by saying that I don't hate New Jersey anymore. I don't. OK? So don't give me crap about giving New Jersey crap. It's kinda nice here, actually, & I don't hate it, but I do think there are a few key ways that the state of New Jersey is totally shafting its lifelong residents when it comes to preparing them to drive in states that are not New Jersey. Observe:

  1. Yellow lights last forever. When Nathan first mentioned this to me, I thought he was mental. No way do the yellow lights here last noticeably longer than they do anywhere else! Right? Wrong. The more I drove in New Jersey, the clearer it became that something is up with this yellow situation. You could be two blocks away when a light turns yellow & still make it through before it changes to red.

    I read a lengthy, detailed story about yellow & red lights in New Jersey townships, but I don't have a great grasp of traffic-related technical jargon, so I'm still sort of lost. All I know is that when I'm in any other state, I now find myself slamming on the brakes to stop before red hits, forgetting that I've become accustomed to freakingly long yellows.
  1. Turning left is unheard of. I've already explained to you the concept & functionality of jughandles, & I shared with you just how weird I think they are. As time goes on - & as I become more familiar with my surroundings - I admit that I've begun to see the value in jughandles, even if I still find them wholly unnecessary. But let's be clear: I still know how to turn left on green. I may not have the legal opportunity to do it in New Jersey, but I'm familiar with the idea, & I won't hesitate to implement it in states that will allow me to (slash require me to, because how else would you get places if you couldn't turn left & didn't have jughandles?!)

    I have a friend, though, who's Jersey born & raised, & I recently learned that after Hurricane Sandy, when all the traffic lights were out, she panicked when she reached an intersection where she had to turn left - even though so one was coming at her from the other direction. She just, like, couldn't do it. Not turning left is so ingrained in Jersey residents' driving habits that trying to turn left is, it seems, foreign to & difficult for them. That's some Zoolander shit right there.
  1. The thing with not pumping your own gas. It's illegal to pump your own gas in New Jersey, which is absurd & can cause confusion. Sometimes it's great, like when it's very hot or very cold outside, & you don't have to get out of your climate-controlled vehicle to refuel. Sometimes it's awful, like when there are seven open pumps & one attendant on duty & three people in line before you. You could gas & go on your own, if you were allowed (& knew how...), but instead, you have to wait in line like a helpless, obedient child until the attendant gets to you. So much time is wasted at highway rest stops this way. And also, back to my original point, a great many native New Jerseyans do not know how to pump their own gas - & are are possibly proud of it?
Also, as a related side note, I learned just yesterday that in the Garden State, it's illegal to talk on your phone while you drive. Quite illegal, in fact, as can attest a fried of mine who received a $100 ticket for committing this offense, which he, too, did not realize was a criminal one. The more you know.

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