If someone is referred to as a “Jersey driver,” it’s usually meant as an insult. But New Jersey drivers aren’t as rude as you might think, according to a new survey.

Motorists in the Garden State get an overall grade of C, with drivers in 12 other states getting a lower rating for courtesy, according to a just released Kars4Kids survey.

The study found New Jersey drivers respond aggressively to slow drivers more frequently than drivers in most other states; our drivers frequently don’t let other cars merge in front of them; and Jersey ranks as second worst in the nation for stealing another driver’s parking spot (Wisconsin was first).

But our drivers use turn signals more frequently than others and we don’t tend to respond rudely to being tailgated.

According to Cathleen Lewis, AAA New Jersey director of public affairs and government relations, it’s actually a bit surprising the Garden State doesn’t get a worse rating.

“Folks are used to New Jersey drivers being a little bit aggressive, probably a little bit rude. Our own surveys have found that in the past,” she said.

Lewis pointed out many drivers behave poorly for a variety of reasons.

“First off, we’re very used to traffic. Some things like tailgating I don’t think we notice anymore,” she said.

“And when it comes to things like allowing people to merge or finding parking, so many of us become impatient and feel like we’ve been waiting a long time because the roads are so crowded.”

She said for many drivers it seems like being aggressive and fast is a point of pride, but being courteous may be a safer alternative that more drivers should consider.

Lewis also pointed out if everybody else is speeding and tailgating, you tend to do it, too. She said a major part of the rude behavior of Jersey motorists is a sort of monkey see, monkey do syndrome.

“Drivers tend to mimic each other," she said.

“There’s always a fear that not only if you let somebody in that you’re not going to get the same thing. But if you let that one person in, the next five people behind them are going to take advantage of that as well,” she said.

She said New Jersey roadways we are so crowded and congested “that everybody is just trying to maintain their space, and if one person zooms ahead, if one person crowds you out, then that’s what you’re going to see down the line.”

Lewis added another factor is “we’re always trying to get some place and there’s always some sort of barrier, whether it’s construction, some sort of crash, there’s always something. So many of us are always running late.”

The survey ranks New York drivers as the least courteous in the country.

You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com

Also on New Jersey 101.5:

More From New Jersey 101.5 FM