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Accidents prompt police to urge caution in ‘passing lanes’

After multiple deadly traffic accidents in Ocean County where cars broke down in the left lane, State Police are warning drivers to use extra caution on the roads.

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Traffic jam with rows of cars
(Aleksandra Glustsenko/Thinkstock)

Within a span of 24 hours, two fatalities occurred on the roads of Ocean County. The first took place Sunday night in Toms River on the Tunney Mathis Bridge when a South Seaside Park man crashed into the back of a disabled car. The second occurred early Monday morning on the Garden State Parkway in Lacey where a driver was killed after changing lanes to avoid a disabled car in the left lane.

New Jersey State Police Captain Stephen Jones reminds drivers who think they might run out of gas or break down to stay in the rightmost lanes or just pull over outside of the shoulder as a precaution.

“The left lanes are supposed to be for passing other vehicles and once you’re done passing you move back into the right lane or middle lane,” Jones said. “Unfortunately people think as long as they’re going the speed limit, they should be allowed the left lane. What that causes, in addition to road rage, is it causes people to pass on the other lanes and that leads to unexpected results.”

Keeping a proper distance is also vital, said Jones, especially if a car breaks down on a busy road or an accident occurs ahead of a vehicle.

“I think the standard (distance between cars) is more the car length for every 10 miles an hour, which if you’re doing highway speeds you’re talking six car lengths,” Jones said.

For the residents of the shore who regularly travel in the area, the roads could be second nature, but Jones said that’s not the case for the many visitors to the area during summer and holiday weekends.

“They may not realize what’s around that curb, and you do. You’ve got to be watching out for the other nitwits on the road who don’t know how to drive or don’t know where they’re going,” Jones said, adding that distracted driving behaviors such as using a cellphone, GPS, etc., contribute to the most accidents.

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