11 things you should NEVER do in New Jersey
I had intended for this to be a guide for visitors to New Jersey when I noticed someone with an out of state license plate clogging up the left lane, as happens quite often. But then I realized that there are plenty of New Jerseyans doing the same every day. There are people from New Jersey, natives even, who also don’t understand many of our unspoken (and sometimes extremely spoken) rules.
So consider this a general guide for behavior for everyone in New Jersey. Obviously the list could go on and on, but due to time and space restraints I have whittled it down to the top 11 things you should not ever do in New Jersey; things that are simply inexcusable whether you’re from here or not.
1. Drive in the left lane unless you’re passing
This is America, not England. We drive on the right, except to pass. There’s really nothing further to say about this except that if you are in the left lane and you notice somebody tailgating you‘re wondering why, this is why. You’ve been warned.
2. Ask us about “Snooki” or “The Situation”
We know them as well as you do. And just like you, wish we didn’t.
3. Approach the EZ Pass lane if you don’t have EZ Pass
I really don’t understand why this always happens. They have EZ Pass, or at least a form of it in almost every state in the country. So why the confusion?
4. Approach the exact change lane if you don’t have exact change.
See number 3. For those of you still confused, “change” means “money.”
5. Get on the express side of the Garden State Parkway if you really want a local exit
Some people think they can get on the express lane which comes up pretty quickly going north or south on the parkway. Even if they want to get off somewhere in between the 20 mile roadway. “Express” means express. There’s no way to cross over to the local. You’re trapped. So unless you enjoy driving 20 miles out of your way turning around and coming back to get to your destination, pay attention.
6. Take the “cars only” lanes on the Turnpike
Outsiders will often see a sign with the turnpike splits that says cars only and then another sign that says cars and trucks. They automatically assume because they’re in a car they should take the former. Like a real native, be brave and take the truck lanes. it’s always quicker.
7. Call Monmouth, Ocean or Middlesex counties “south jersey” or “north jersey”
We all know that the jury is still out on whether or not central Jersey really exists. But one thing there is no debate about is that people in the geographically central towns do not like belonging to either group. So play it safe if you’re not from New Jersey, and don’t try to geographically pigeonhole any of us. You’re only asking for trouble.
8. Try to affect any kind of NJ accent
First of all, there isn’t one. North Jerseyans have an accent that’s actually a New York accent just because of their proximity to the city. South Jerseyans have an accent that’s actually a Philly accent just because of THEIR proximity to the city. And you can’t do either one. Any attempts will fail.
9. Get out of the car to try to pump your own gas
If you haven’t heard, they are not going to let you. We’re not sure why. But if you attempt to reach for the fuel nozzle you will get the same look from the gas attendant as you would get from a store clerk who caught you stealing.
10. Call it "Six Flags"
It’s Great Adventure. Technically, Six Flags IS a superfluous prefix but it just Great Adventure. I don’t care what they called it where you’re from. Here, it’s just Great. Adventure. Period.
11. Be presumptuous enough to think that a left turn means “turn left”
In New Jersey, many times making a left turn ACTUALLY means making a big, loopy, wide, RIGHT turn AFTER the intersection you really needed to make a LEFT turn at. It’s called a jughandle. And yes, insane, but it’s OUR insanity. And we’re proud of it. It’s one of those Jersey things that is so stupid, we’ve actually come to wear it as a badge of honor. You probably don’t get it if you’re not from here. But when you know, you know.