A message to NJ drivers that hug the right to turn left
We all experience pet peeves while driving on New Jersey's roads. There's no way to avoid it in such a densely populated state.
For example, there's the person who hogs the left lane. No matter how many signs they pass or how many people are blowing their horns at them, they don't seem to get the hint that the left lane is for passing only.
Or how about those who don't seem to realize New Jersey has a move-over law? This one's pretty simple.
If you see an emergency coming up, you move over for everyone's safety. But yet, many can't seem to grasp that concept either.
But there is another one that ties both of these together. And even though the correlation is indirect, this pet peeve does involve turning left and moving over.
To help illustrate this, we need to first take a road trip. Not necessarily a long one, but one where we know we'll eventually come across another vehicle.
Let's say we're traveling on one of New Jersey's back roads. Perhaps in the Pine Barrens, or one of our long county roads.
Much like a standard two-lane roadway. An easy drive anywhere in the great Garden State.
There may be a small shoulder on the side that's just big enough for an emergency pullover.
Not one of those wide shoulders, either. Like the ones that could fit a full-sized vehicle in with ample space.
More like a narrow shoulder just wide enough just to provide that extra space in case you need it. Or, to go around someone if need be.
As you're traveling, the car in front of you starts to slow down.
At the moment, you don't see any reason for this slowdown. Perhaps that car saw an animal about to cross and wanted to play it safe.
A perfectly reasonable reason to hit the brakes. For now, you prepare to slow down as well just in case.
Then that car's left turn signal goes on. No big deal.
You simply slow down with the car and prepare to go around them on the right. After all, there is a shoulder.
Again, not a full-sized shoulder, but one nonetheless. Certainly wide enough to go around the car ahead of you with care.
As the car in front of you continues to slow, you get ready for their eventual turn.
But then, the car making the left does something that would irritate most drivers. They hug the right side of the lane, preventing you from being able to get around them.
And there's nothing you can do but sit there and wait for them to turn.
You may be tempted to blow on the horn to give that driver turning left the hint.
Or maybe the thought of flashing your high beams at them also crossed your mind. Certainly that Jersey anger might overtake your emotions and you start shouting profanities at the person for blocking your way around.
But what's the point? You can't go until they have an opening to make their left anyway.
And if it takes a while, you may notice the vehicles starting to back up behind you. A complete traffic jam because of one person refusing to be courteous to others.
In New Jersey, you don't have to wait for the car in front of you to turn left if you can safely pass on the right. If a shoulder exists, there's no reason not to use it.
And if you're the one making the left, what's the point of moving your car to the right in the first place? It's one thing if you stay in the center, but some drivers seem to do the shoulder block on purpose.
So please, don't be that person. If you need to turn left, either maintain your lane or lean toward the left side so others can get around you.
The same thing goes for drivers who don't turn right at a red light. Why wait when you can safely go?
Reasons why some NJ drivers won't turn right on red
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 Sunday morning host Mike Brant. Any opinions expressed are his own.