The Northeast needs some driving lessons

By on September 29, 2010

In my Californian opinion, the Northeast is home to the worst drivers.

It’s not that they don’t know how to drive, it’s just that many of them are selfish and inconsiderate when it comes to sharing the road.

I’d like to think that I’m a little unbiased on this matter because I was born and raised in California. This means I had never heard that Connecticut drivers are awful, nor heard the term “Masshole” before coming out here. And I also find it very ironic when someone from New England makes fun of a driver from another state.

While I haven’t been to every region in the country, I did drive from California to Connecticut this summer. It wasn’t until we hit New Jersey that it became a little nerve-racking to be on the road. This is the first time I’ve had my car out here, and this first month has been a little scary at times.

I think one of the problems is that the streets are so confusing. For instance, if you’ve ever been in New Jersey, there are certain roads (that they call highways) that you cannot turn left on. If you aren’t from the area, it takes a few minutes to see the “turn lane” on the right-hand side of the road.

Also, getting onto the freeway can be extremely dangerous. There are stop signs on a ramp! How am I supposed to speed up that fast in such a short amount of space? In California, every ramp gives you more than enough time to speed up and get on the freeway before you have to be worried about another car hitting you.

After warming up to the new driving environment, the next problem I have is the person behind the wheel. Some of my friends will tell you I’m a cautious driver—but it’s only because I don’t feel like getting killed on my way to the supermarket. However these friends are also the same ones who drive like they’re fleeing from the cops.

GMAC Insurance annually administers the National Drivers Test, quizzing licensed drivers on questions found on a DMV exam. According to the results on their website, the Northeast had the lowest average test scores and the highest failure rate across the nation.

The confirmation of these results came when I drove up to Massachusetts and was amazed by the amount of impatient drivers there were. I was going over the speed limit in the left lane, but apparently that wasn’t fast enough. I had people tailgating me the entire way. Politely, I would pull into the next lane, let them pass, but before I knew it, the next tailgater was right behind me. If you’re one of these people, please slow down! You can’t possibly be getting anywhere much quicker than me. And it’s stupid to drive so fast when you could get in an accident.

Also, I know people joke around that when a traffic light is yellow that it means “speed up”, but around here, many people really take that to heart. I’ve been in a few different cars where the driver sped up—right through a red light. It was a little scary to say the least.

Remember that you are sharing the road. There would be a lot fewer accidents if everyone paid attention, drove a little slower, and respected everyone around them when they’re driving.

Comments

About Erica Rocco

3 Comments

  1. Caleb Gindl

    September 30, 2010 at 8:22 am

    Bob Saget thinks you’re a bad driver.

  2. Alexa

    October 4, 2010 at 7:16 pm

    Being from New Jersey myself, yes, we’re aggressive drivers. But you also have to realize you’re from the other side of the country. The East Coast, especially NY and NJ, are known for their fast paced atmospheres, including their aggressive drivers. I’ve been to California, have driven from Santa Barbara down to Laguna Beach, and your drivers are more “laid back,” for lack of a better word. It’s all just a matter of where you go and what part of the country you’re in.

  3. Rocco

    October 4, 2010 at 11:45 pm

    I grew up in New York and have lived the last 26 years in California. I see both sides of this issue. I agree that east coast drivers are more aggressive and they are use to that style of driving while Californians are more laid back and cautious. However, I feel that by obeying the traffic laws and slowing down, makes it easier, and safer, for people visiting from outside the state. Take your time and enjoy what’s going on around you and maybe we will all make it home safe for dinner.