Car vs. truck: Why cars tend to be bigger problems on NJ highways
It’s no surprise that driving on New Jersey roads and highways can be scary at times for some. Many of us do come across as aggressive which could be intimidating to deal with.
Now, that doesn’t mean we’re bad drivers. Life is so fast-paced in The Garden State that we simply don’t have any time to spare.
But for the most part, a vast majority of us know what we’re doing. Sure we drive fast and probably closer to one another than we should, but it works like a well-oiled machine when everyone does what they’re supposed to.
With that said, it still doesn’t stop people from doing extremely risky things on the roads. And that’s especially true on our freeways and major roadways.
Take the New Jersey Turnpike, for example. People tend to drive like maniacs on that highway.
But we can't blame it solely on Jersey drivers since folks from all over the country also travel that stretch of roadway. Remember, a large portion of the New Jersey Turnpike is also shared with I-95.
So it's fair to say a decent amount of those maniac drivers are just passing through. And of course, they're most likely driving well over the speed limit when possible.
In the car and truck lanes, it's sometimes a battle between which drivers are worse. Folks driving cars tend to blame the truckers for not knowing what they're doing, and vice versa.
So which is it? Is one type of driver truly a bigger problem on our freeways than the other?
If I had to pick one, I would say it's the cars and not the big-rig trucks. It just seems like there's more aggression when it comes to people driving smaller vehicles.
And when I say smaller vehicles, I don't mean compact cars. I'm simply referring to anything that's considered a passenger vehicle and not a huge truck like an 18-wheeler or tanker.
It just seems most of the time these smaller cars have to get somewhere faster and seem to forget that these larger trucks can't exactly do what they can. And it absolutely creates hazardous conditions for everyone driving.
Probably the biggest problem with smaller cars is when they feel they can cut off a large truck followed by suddenly slowing down. That's a very dangerous situation for a fully loaded truck to be in.
Some smaller cars seem to forget braking time is substantially increased for heavy, large loads like that. Sure, it's OK for the small cars, but they also risk these huge loads plowing them from behind.
But aside from that, large trucks simply need more time and space to do everything because of the sheer size and weight they're hauling. They definitely should be respected on the roads.
And yet, some cars will blame the large trucks for getting in their way or going too slow. Don't forget, that most of those trucks also have large blind spots.
So if you're driving with 18-wheelers, tankers, or any large vehicle like that, just remember that they can't do what you can with your small passenger vehicle. Respect them and give them the space they need.
In the case of the Turnpike, just travel the car lanes. You'll be out of their way, and they'll be out of yours.
Yes, some drivers of larger trucks can also be the aggressor, but more often than not it's smaller passenger vehicles not respecting them on the road. If you see a large truck, please be respectful and remember that they can't maneuver like you can.
Large trucks simply need a lot more stopping time and distance than you do. Always keep this in mind before merging in front of a truck.
Also, don't ride up on their bumper. Not only won't they see you, you won't be able to see what's coming up ahead.
And probably the most important thing to keep in mind is to be patient with large trucks and not drive aggressively around them. Blind spots, stopping distance, and dangerously heavy loads should be respected.
Too many passenger drivers seem to forget that, which is why they tend to be the bigger problem on New Jersey's highways. Not just Jersey drivers, but out-of-state drivers as well.
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The above post reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 Sunday morning host Mike Brant. Any opinions expressed are his own.