It’s been called “The Monster Road,” “The Big Road” and “The Black Dragon.” The Huffington Post has ranked it in the “Top 10 Absolute Worst Places to Drive in the World.” It has been the site of major celebrity accidents (such as Tracy Morgan) and historical figures (such as famous mathematician from “A Beautiful Mind,” John Nash). It is also famous for its large and deadly pileup accidents.
The New Jersey Turnpike cuts across the middle of the state, which also happens to be the most densely populated area. Its 148-mile stretch, with as many as 14 lanes in some areas, gives drivers access to roads such as I-95, I-2276 Pennsylvania Spur, the Newark Bay extension and Route 700, to name a few. According to NJ.com, more than 5.5 billion miles were driven on the Turnpike in 2013 and the numbers are only increasing.
There were 24 fatal car crashes in 2012 and 23 fatal car crashes in 2014. Many attribute these high numbers to distracted driving, high speeds or a combination of both. Aggressive driving is also a common cause of car accidents on the NJ Turnpike. Moreover, many NJ Turnpike accidents are caused by semi-trucks, given the high volume that travel on it between states.
How Do I Stay Safe on the New Jersey Turnpike?
Try to avoid semi-trucks on the Turnpike, though it may seem difficult. If it is possible, move ahead of the truck or slow down to let it move away from you. Bear in mind the truck has huge blind spots, or “No-Zones.” A semi-truck’s No-Zones are located directly behind the truck, directly in front of the truck, on the majority of the right side of the truck and on the driver side, if you cannot see the driver in his mirror. If you are in close proximity of the truck, it is likely you are in a blind spot, so drive predictably and with caution.
Though it may seem enticing, do not drive above the given speed limits. You may have also seen drivers remain in the fast lane, then do “the Jersey sweep” to cut across all lanes of traffic. Drivers are unable to anticipate these kinds of dangerous driving maneuvers and this can cause accidents. Plan ahead and be in the correct lane well before your exit. Follow cars at a safe distance and, as tempting as it may be on the Turnpike, don’t engage in aggressive driving or road rage.