Zutobi is an online driver’s ed company that ultimately wants to make money. So while bad drivers are in their wheelhouse, remember that when you see they’ve done a research project. They want people like me to talk about them or write about them. Congrats Zutobi, you win. (But personally I know nothing about them and feel it seems pretty useless to learn driving from a laptop.)
So they took a deep dive into U.S. statistics and looked at the number of fatal crashes per 100,000 people and also at the number of people involved in said crashes for all 50 states. That second category includes all people involved in a single fatal crash whether they died or survived. All this to determine who has the worst drivers. But does that truly tell the story? Couldn’t you have a state that has many more accidents per 100,000 people just not fatal ones? And couldn’t that be because other states have far higher speed limits and less traffic? Traffic which would slow cars like here in the Dirty Jerz?
Anyway, with this methodology, what they found was New Jersey is one of the better states. We were 45th for worst drivers meaning we ranked 8th for best drivers. (There were 52 slots accounting for Puerto Rico and Washington D.C.)
8th best? Yeah? Again, that’s if you buy into the only methodology to determine such things being fatal crashes.
Okay let’s bite. Let’s say we really are the 8th best group of drivers in the nation. But what if you just look within our own borders? Are there differences among Jersey drivers? North vs. South? Town vs. town?
I think the answer is yes.
When I visit my mom and step-dad in Linden my defensive driving skills are nearing spidey sense. They have to be. Once you’re above the Driscoll Bridge then on into Union County drivers get riskier. Maybe it’s out of necessity? Maybe the fact the roads are getting narrower and the traffic is getting more congested and the parking is getting more difficult all translates into having to be more aggressive and take more chances. Or maybe they just suck. I don’t know.
All my anecdotal experience shows me is that it seems drivers are crazier the farther north you go.
But I think there are other differences. Within Union County itself I think a Rahway or Linden driver is worse than a Clark driver and is better than an Elizabeth driver. Is it based on socioeconomic demographics? No. Conclude what you will, but it’s honestly and simply based on what I see when I drive in certain areas. I make no assumptions about why it is so I only recognize that it seems to be.
Conversely are South Jersey drivers slower? I have less anecdotal experience to offer but friends tell me it’s the case. Going way back to when I lived in Ocean City it certainly seemed true then.
So is there a difference among NJ drivers depending on area or town? Take our poll and give us your opinion.
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski. Any opinions expressed are Jeff Deminski's own.