New Jersey Driving: A Dangerous Endeavor

A jughandle on Route 23 in Wayne, N.J. (credit: Google Maps)

CBS New York

A jughandle on Route 23 in Wayne, N.J. (credit: Google Maps)

Thomas Tait '22, Editor-in-Chief

In most places, people generally drive the speed limit, can make turns safely and reasonably, and generally don’t have to navigate countless toll roads, roundabouts, and jughandles. New Jersey is the most notable exception to this generalization. In part two of the California to New Jersey transition series, I’ll be looking at driving in the Garden State.

Left Turns: Left turns are much more difficult to make in New Jersey. This is because there is very rarely a dedicated left-hand turn lane. The roads in New Jersey were narrow when they were first developed and very quickly had buildings develop surrounding them. Because New Jersey is so densely populated, there is little extra space to expand the roads for the modern traveler. Thus, in most cases, there is no left-hand turn lane. This means that sometimes you pull into the center of the intersection, which is dangerous and something I’m still not used to. It’s insane to me, and one of the most confusing things about New Jersey. I rate left turns in New Jersey one hoagie out of ten.

Jughandles: These are some of the weirdest road structures that have ever been made. They still sometimes confuse, and they always come across to me as antiquated. I always think “why couldn’t they use this space for a left turn lane?” It still irks me that I must go so far right just to go left. Jughandles get five water ices out of ten.

The Drivers: Like I said in the Wawa article, New Jersey is an inherently busy place. The state being home to many commuters into Philadelphia and New York City has led to a culture where the people go about their business as fast and aggressive as possible. The driving especially reflects this. New Jersey drivers are unparalleled in their aggression on the road. I’ve been in situations where you have to speed up to be safe from the other drivers who are going 10-20 miles over the speed limit. When you refuse to speed up to the illegal levels that others drive, it comes with many honks and sometimes vulgar gestures. New Jersey drivers get two shore houses out of 10.

All in all, driving in New Jersey is the worst part about the state. The flaws aren’t the fault of the people or state, just the circumstances that the road network developed in.