Dumbest driving moves in NJ, ranked (Opinion)
I had a lot to do one day last week. With all the errands and appointments I must have driven five hours that day in New Jersey. It served as a great showcase of the many moronic things drivers do.
I was accosted by a couple of my bigger driving pet peeves. One was when in the right lane of a highway someone was coming up the entrance ramp to merge and I made sure to simply maintain my speed because they were quite a distance ahead. I knew with that distance when they accelerated more they would easily slide in front of me.
Only, they didn’t accelerate.
They maintained probably about 40 mph to merge into traffic doing 65 mph. The thing about an acceleration lane is you have to accelerate. In the end what should have been completely easy turned into my cursing under my breath, hitting the brakes and avoiding a collision with an imbecile who had no clue how to merge.
Another was when I was first at a red light waiting to make a left turn. At this intersection, both directions get the green at the same time and there’s no turn arrow. So the oncoming line of cars had the right of way.
When the light turned green the oncoming driver held up the entire line by deciding to give up his right of way. I HATE when drivers do this. It confuses everyone and is not safe. Worse, if he was letting me go by waiving his right of way he made nothing clear. He just sat there without any flash of headlights or hand gesture indicating what he wanted.
After a few seconds, I angrily waved at him to go. He wouldn’t. At 10 seconds, I waved more forcefully thinking by now we ran the danger of me going this late and by then he’d gun the gas at the same moment thinking I wouldn’t. Still nothing. I hit the gas and turned as drivers behind him started blowing their horns at this fool. Just…GO!
So I was inspired to offer this subjective list of the dumbest driving maneuvers ranked from least to most egregious.
NJ’s dumbest driving moves ranked
11. Flashers on in snow
We all know it’s snowing. We all see it. We all are going slower, too. Not just you. You do not need to turn on your emergency flashers as you drive. If everyone did that in snow it would render it completely meaningless, which it nearly is already.
10. Swinging wide
When drivers who aren’t driving a tractor-trailer make turns like they are, first swinging wide left to make a right turn and vice-versa. It doesn’t matter if their vehicle is an agile Mini Cooper with a short wheelbase, they’ll make that unnecessary swing.
9. Last-minute mergers
You saw the "left lane closed in 2 miles" sign one mile and 5,200 feet ago. Why did you pass all those cars and then risk taking out my fender by waiting until just before impact? This is not higher on the list only because some states use the zipper merge, which is said to be more effective.
8. Backing for missed exit
We all have GPS these days. Just take the extra three minutes and find a different way if you miss your exit. Don’t back up 1,000 feet on a shoulder.
7. Inventing lanes
Speaking of shoulders, using one as your own travel lane when the amount of traffic doesn’t suit your narcissism is not OK.
6. Lane splitting
This one’s particular to motorcycles. The act of riding between traffic lanes between cars, basically along the dotted lines. Some argue it can reduce rear-end collisions, but we’ve all seen some bikers pull this stupidity at deadly high speed and we always think someday we’ll see someone throw their door open. Just stop it.
5. Circle failures
A traffic circle sometimes has yield signs. The Flemington circle where I live is a great example. Treat the yield sign as if it’s there, since, you know, it is.
4. The Jersey Slide
When you’re in the left lane and wait until the last possible second to get over for your exit and you go from the left lane across the highway to the exit lane all in one straight line. The arrogance involved here is staggering.
3. Incompetent merging
Acceleration lanes call for acceleration. You have to slide in on a highway and you either pick faster or slower than the guy in the right lane. This isn’t rocket science.
2. Waiving your right of way
Don’t stop dead on a 45 mph main road to win Human of the Year points by letting a guy out of a side street. Don’t sit still at a green light when you’re going straight to let a guy making a left in front of you go instead. You’re trying to go home, not into Heaven. Don’t be stupid.
1. Parking in the passing lane
The left lane on New Jersey highways is for faster traffic that wants to pass. If someone behind you wants to go faster than you in the left lane, pull over and let them. You’re not a traffic cop enforcing speed limits. It’s the law. If you do not obey it you are hated more than all politicians and Karens put together. Get! Out! Of! The! Left! Lane!
Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski only.
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