On several occasions over the years, I’ve received this e-mail laying out the rules for driving in New Jersey. Though some of it is true, many points on the list are just your typical Jersey bravado. Sure, us residents of the Armpit of America are indeed known for our aggressive natures, but this list exploits that a little too much. All that being said, I’d like to present the contents of this continuously forwarded list, along with my response to each item.
1. You must first learn to pronounce the city name; it is New-erk
I have no clue why this is the first rule. There are many other places in New Jersey to drive to or from aside from Newark. On top of that, anyone in New Jersey knows how to pronounce Newark. I’m sure most of the country knows as well. The only people who might get confused are those unfortunate souls who call Delaware their home. In case you don’t know, Delaware has a city called Newark, which they pronounce like “new-ark.” So, this rule only applies to Delawareans. Why the author of this list decided to cater to people in that backwater state is beyond me. Delaware sucks.
2. The morning rush hour is from 5:00 a.m. to noon. The evening rush
hour is from noon to 7:00 p.m. Friday’s rush hour starts on Thursday
This rule plays up the legendary New Jersey traffic jams. Sure it’s an exaggeration, but who in the Armpit of America hasn’t felt that our state’s rush hour lasts 24 hours a day?
3. The minimum acceptable speed on the turnpike is 85 mph. On the
parkway it’s 105 or 110. Anything less is considered “Wussy.”
Yes, people in New Jersey go faster than the speed limit. 85 mph is indeed a suitable speed for driving on the Turnpike, but 105 mph on the Garden State Parkway? Even this sometimes-aggressive New Jersey driver doesn’t agree with that. The parkway has way too many curves to drive that fast on.
On a more serious note, who the hell says “wussy” anymore? I haven’t used that word since 6th grade. The only people who still use the term “wussy” are middle-aged mothers trying to sound cool. Change the “w” to a “p,” and then it would be more accurate.
An elusive open road in New Jersey
4. Forget the traffic rules you learned elsewhere. Jersey has its
own version of traffic rules. For example, cars/trucks with the loudest
muffler go first at a four-way stop; the trucks with the biggest
tires go second. However, in Monmouth county, SUV-driving, cellphone-talking
moms ALWAYS have the right of way.
This rule is pretty accurate for the most part. The only thing I’d suggest is mentioning something about how those assholes with loud mufflers and big tires usually don’t even stop at a stop sign. But the part about SUV-driving, cellphone-talking moms? So untrue. This statement, combined with the use of the word “wussy” above just proves that some bored middle-aged woman who thinks she’s cool/tough wrote this list.
5. If you actually stop at a yellow light, you will be rear ended,
cussed out, and possibly shot.
Again, this is mostly true. I’m often amazed when I go through a yellow light and at least two more cars behind me will go through the light as well. By the way, who says “cussed out”? The only time I ever heard the word “cuss” instead of “curse” in New Jersey was when a Texas transplant said it.
6. Never honk at anyone. Ever. Seriously. It’s another offense that
can get you shot.
I’m calling bullshit on this one. While us New Jerseyans are prone to road rage, you don’t get shot for honking at somebody. It’s expected.
7. Road construction is permanent and continuous in all of Jersey.
Detour barrels are moved around for your entertainment pleasure during the
middle of the night to make the next day’s driving a bit more exciting.
Ha! I couldn’t agree more. Thanks to Obama’s stimulus package, road construction is even more prevalent. And it does indeed seem like the construction crews just move around the barrels and cones just to piss us off. If they were doing actual work, wouldn’t we see some kind of improvement on New Jersey’s roads?
8. Watch carefully for road hazards such as drunks, skunks, dogs,
cats, barrels, cones, celebs, rubber-neckers, shredded tires,cell-phoners,
deer and other road kill, and the Homeless feeding on any of these
Another good one that is surprisingly accurate. My only complaint? I’ve never seen any celebrity being a road hazard. But then again, there was this one time I was driving in the middle of the night and a Jon Bon Jovi ran into the road. Turns out it was just a possum, but you can understand my confusion.
9. Mapquest does not work here — none of the roads are where they
say they are or go where they say they do and all the Turnpike ez pass
lanes are moved each night once again to make your ride more exciting.
All of the above is true. Mapquest, Google Maps, and other direction services probably conspire with the people who make the road signs just to piss us off.
That's more like it!
10. If someone actually has their turn signal on, wave them to the
shoulder immediately to let them know it has been “accidentally
It’s true, New Jersey drivers are infamous for not using turn signals. This is one of the things about driving in the Armpit of America that really pisses me off. I try my hardest to put on my turn signal at the appropriate time, but, occasionally, my Jersey blood forces me to neglect doing so.
11. If you are in the left lane and only driving 70 in a 55-65mph
zone, you are considered a road hazard and will be “flipped off”
accordingly. If you return the flip, you’ll be shot.
This first part is definitely accurate. But again, the author exaggerates about getting shot. New Jersey isn’t that dangerous as the media makes it out to be. If someone gives you the finger, by all means, give it right back. Unless you’re a “wussy” soccer mom, it’s pretty much expected.
12. Do not try to estimate travel time — just leave Monday
afternoon for Tuesday appointments, by noon Thursday for Friday and right after church on Sunday for anything on Monday morning.
Uh, isn’t this the same as #2? And whoever wrote this list neglected to consider that not everyone in New Jersey is of the Christian/Catholic persuasion. And most of those who are don’t even go to church on Sundays.
13. If you are an elected official in NJ State you can drive without
wearing your seat belts
Tying in the problems with New Jersey’s road to it’s corrupt politicians is a great way to end the list. Who can forget our soon-to-be-ex governor’s little incident on the Parkway? While us ordinary citizens could get ticketed for not wearing a seatbelt, Jon Corzine got away with it. But at least he lost the election. Now let’s just wait until Chris Christie does something stupid. I give him 60 days.