To the New Jersey drivers who space out and floor it
It's a particular habit that almost every driver in New Jersey is guilty of. And it's just something that usually happens unintentionally.
The good news here is that this isn't necessarily a sign of someone being a bad driver. Drivers such as the ones who purposefully weave in and out of traffic at a high rate of speed.
Or the drivers who get right on our bumpers and tailgate. Both of which are part of the famous story of having to get nowhere in a rush.
Of course, then there's the opposite. The person who goes so slow that they can cause a back-up on a busy highway.
You know the driver. The ones who are crawling so slowly that they have absolutely no traffic in front of them, yet a full line of vehicles behind them.
But of course, we can't forget about one of the biggest pet peeves of all. The dreaded left lane hog.
The singular person who is responsible for not only slowing everyone else down but completely disrupting entire flows of traffic. If you're a true New Jersey driver, then you know this driver all too well.
Those are just a few examples of both clueless drivers, as well as careless ones. They are drivers who need to retake their tests because they clearly have no idea what the rules of the road are.
Fortunately, this particular driver is none of the above. In fact, they may be very good drivers who just happened to get caught spacing out.
Welcome to the New Jersey driver who falls asleep at New Jersey intersections. In particular, signaled intersections.
Here's an example where we pretend you're that driver. Let's say you're traveling on a road and approaching a red light.
You begin to slow down and eventually come to a stop. There's at least one car in front of you and about three behind you.
After about 30 seconds, the traffic light turns green. The car in front of you goes, but you do not.
Perhaps you were yawning and closed your eyes for a moment. Or perhaps you got distracted by something on the side of the road.
Whatever it was, the other drivers weren't having it. After a few seconds of you not moving, they begin to lay on their horns.
After that, you suddenly realize the car that was in front of you is long gone, and then proceed to go yourself. But you don't just start to go, you floor it. In the blink of an eye, you're gone.
You get yourself back up to speed as fast as humanly possible.
It's an embarrassing moment that we've all probably found ourselves in. And we all tend to have the same knee-jerk reaction once we realize it.
Regardless if it's a single-lane highway or one with multiple lanes, we feel the need to suddenly treat the highway as if it were a race track. But only if we realized we spaced out at that traffic signal and another driver caught you in the act.
But why do we do that? Why do so many of us have that exact same reaction when we realize we missed the green and were still sitting there?
Most likely, we were embarrassed and wanted to get away from that situation as fast as possible. We just couldn't bear to let anyone else see our faces for missing something so obvious.
Now, it's possible that the driver was doing something other than spacing out. What if they were checking their phone?
It's OK to admit it, so many of us do it despite knowing we shouldn't. After all, it's not like we're moving at a red light.
But if it turns green and we don't realize it, it can be embarrassing. Rather than risk anyone seeing you holding up the phone, you immediately hit the gas and get up to speed as fast as you can.
But that fast acceleration only occurs, if someone had to beep at you for not realizing the light turned green.
The phone is one thing, but it's not always that. Sometimes, we might be trying to squeeze in a meal. After all, we're always on the move in Jersey.
Perhaps a giant sub, a delicious coffee, and a quick moment to enjoy it all at a red light. But again, if you get beeped at because you didn't notice the light change, you've suddenly got a lead foot.
It can be anything really that triggers this reaction. Putting on makeup, turning behind you to talk to whoever's in the back seat, or, as mentioned above, just spacing out.
It's OK, you're not a bad driver. If you were then you wouldn't floor it the moment someone realized you didn't notice the light change. As long as you're focused while driving, that's what matters most.
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The above post reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 Sunday morning host Mike Brant. Any opinions expressed are his own.