Besides some type of motor vehicle and a license, you only two things to drive in the state of New Jersey: a horn and a middle finger. Really, that’s it. You don’t even need to know how to pump your own gas, because we have people to do that for us. (“Fill it up, regular. Cash.”)
Learning to drive in Jersey is like a right of passage. (Are we right, locals?!) And if you’re only here for a short time, consider it an initiation. Here are some friendly tips for you to know:
1. Ignore posted speed limits.
Freeways post a speed limit of 65 miles per hour. If you are in the left lane, don’t let that stop you from doing 90 mph — minimum.
Most local roads post a speed limit of 50 mph. Again, if you’re in the left lane, don’t let that stop you from doing 80 mph minimum.
2. Follow proper protocol in the event of an accident.
If you’re in an accident and it’s your fault, well... that sucks. If you’re in an accident and it’s someone else’s fault, make sure you get out of the car immediately to yell at them. Optional: Slam your hand down on their front hood.
3. Follow at the appropriate distance.
When tailgating (because everyone in Jersey does it), make sure you are so close that it gives off the appearance you’re being towed by the car in front of you.
4. Abide local etiquette.
After you get cut off, you have several options for retaliation:
Honk your horn for at least one mile as you tailgate the offender (see above).
Honk your horn until you get to the next stoplight. Pull up beside them and flick them off.
Honk your horn until you get to the next stoplight. Pull up beside them, flick them off, and scream profanities at the top of your lungs.
Honking the horn is also encouraged when doing drive-bys of your friends’ homes.
5. Obey signals.
If you reach a yellow light, you do not slow down. You speed up as fast as necessary to get to the other side.
As soon as the light turns green, make sure you honk your horn so the person in front of you knows. That’s just common courtesy.
6. Watch for obstacles.
There is always road construction somewhere at some point during your commute. Expect orange cones in a seemingly straight line that attempt to merge traffic into one lane.
Speed bumps are either built into the ground, or they can be of the skunk variety.
7. Know the lingo.
Highways aren’t numbers, they’re names. We don’t call it 95. It’s The Turnpike.
8. Exercise judgement.
Traffic circles exist mostly “down the shore” and are important because sometimes, you have to go right, but other times, you just want to keep going straight. Jersey folks don't have time to stop at a stoplight to make these types of decisions.
Jughandles exist in New Jersey because if you tell us to go left, we’ll go right... but still end up where we need to be.
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