So the Mom Blog has a post about the North versus the South. I have to respond with just a few thoughts about New Jersey, specifically. I've never (and I mean never) been in a state before where its basically verboten to ever make a left turn. You want to go anywhere? You basically just have to keep making right turns until you either get to Pennsylvania or the Atlantic. After some shlub in this state inventing the infamous "Jersey Barrier" it's like their brother-in-law was given the contract to make every single road in New Jersey a divided highway.
How does one get across a divided highway? Jughandles! What the *hell* is a jughandle and why do I need to use one just to get to the other side of the road? I'm lucky that I don't have to use a jughandle to get into my own driveway! Mapquest? Garmin? Hardly! Both of these navigational tools have not been programmed to take into account the whole divided highway situation. I remember one time the Husband and I tried to get to Buy Buy Baby in Paramus. We started off on I-80, we got off on Route 17 but unfortunately the Buy Buy Baby was south of the exit from I-80. Could we turn around? We had to drive almost all the way to the New York State Border before we could figure out where the F!*% the place was! We had to stop at a Barnes & Noble in Mahwah for god's sake!
It's as if the entire state has been designed so that the only way you can know how to get someplace is if you've been there before. If it's your first time trying to get someplace good luck and leave an hour early.
Circles? Let's not even discuss the circles. I can deal with the "Somerville Circle" as it is known, but the circle at Exit 135 in Clark/Rahway off of the Parkway-- you have to gun it in order to merge into traffic. It's like a pinball machine of crazy drivers and you have to just hope that you in your little pin ball car can be blasted into the circle fast enough not to get hit by somebody else.
As greater proof of more idiocy in our municipal road systems, when we first moved here there was a stop light at Nassau Park Boulevard and Route 1 in Princeton/West Windsor/Lawrenceville (that's another great thing, by the way, every thirty feet and you've moved across some such political boundary and you're in a new town, township, or borough-- it makes using 411 a nightmare). Nassau Park Boulevard is a street that has a bunch of big box stores in two shopping centers, including a Home Depot, Wegmans, Best Buy, Target, Petsmart, Wal-Mart, etc., etc. After Whole Foods moved in down the road (without the benefit of a stoplight at its entrance), DOT decided that there was no need for a traffic light at Nassau Park! You want to get to Wegman's from the Northbound lane? Bon Chance! Get off the exit before, use a clover leaf, and go in the back entrance. You want to exit Wegmans and go North on Route 1? You can get on Route 1 going South and then exit at the next clover leaf, cross over Route 1, exit again at the next cloverleaf, merge into traffic with cars attempting to exit onto another cloverleaf and then you can merge with Route 1 traffic going 65+ MPH. It's accidents waiting to happen, no wonder we have one of the highest insurance premium rates in the country! (Our insurance was actually cheaper when we lived in Manhattan! You would think a close proximity to the Bronx would raise your rates, but no, try moving to New Jersey and watch those rates triple!)
Not to mention how people drive! My Mom is right-- all of these people feel like they need to be someplace and they need to be there *NOW*, but that urgency is also coupled with a great inability to stay in one's own lane. When driving one constantly has to be minding the cars on either side of you because not only will people change lanes without enough clearance, they'll also just weave into your lane!
What about tractor trailers? I know they're bad drivers everywhere but here it seems to be especially bad since, what with all the refineries, often tractor trailers are tanker trucks. On Friday night we heard on the news about another tanker truck that jackknifed and caught fire at Exit 16 of the Turnpike. This prompted both me (and the newscaster) to mention how just a few months ago another tanker did the same thing at the *same exact exit*--- this was memorable because it was the night of a Bruce Springsteen concert at the Meadowlands, and I'm sure you can imagine how well shutting down the turnpike at the Meadowlands exit before a "BOSS" concert went over with the local constituency.
In a nutshell, New Jersey is a nuthouse. The Husband is fond of saying that Princeton isn't New Jersey (a sentiment also put forth by a representative from the State's Tourism Board not too long ago), I just try to bring a little bit of New York to every day in Jersey (case in point, today I blew my car horn four times-- twice at the Wendy's drive through and twice at a Stop sign). You can take the Type A out of their stint at city living, but you can't take the city crazy out of the Type A.