The problems with New Jersey's highway systems are either: no signs, confusing signs, or misplaced signs. I've lived here all my life and I'm pretty familiar with which roads have junctions and connections with others, so the absence of signs does not bother me much.

Confusing signs are those which tell you to take the next exit, which can get confusing if there are a series of exits 1/16 of a mile from each other. These also include the signs that tell you some major highway is 20 miles up ahead. 20 miles may not sound like much, but it is when you have to deal with New Jersey traffic.

Misplaced signs take the brunt of my ire. These are the signs that are placed well into the exit telling you what exit you're taking. I see no purpose in this placement other than to annoy people who missed the exit because the sign was not placed before the entrance to the exit. There are quite a lot of these on Route 80, east of Parsipanny. There's also one on Route 1 South for the Parkway North entrance in Woodbridge.

I see this phenomenon around extremely dense areas, especially cities. Unfortunately, most of Northern and Central New Jersey is very dense, so it's like that everywhere.

Multiple directions to the same destination are possible, because there really are that many ways to get to a place. I can think of 4 ways off the top of my head to get to Hoboken from where I am. The directions I give are based on the person who will be driving -- how capable a driver they are in terms of skill and following directions. I will give them the simple, but long way if I have any fear they have a chance of getting lost. If you stick to the major highways, you should be pretty safe. These are I-78, I-80, the Garden State Parkway, and New Jersey Turnpike.

My favorite example of NJ's highway peculiarities is the mundane (you'd think) task of getting to Newark Airport by car, from New York City. Okay, so you're on the New Jersey Turnpike (shudder) heading south. Then the signs start.

Keep Right for Newark Airport

Okay, that looks promising...

Exit 14 - Newark Airport - Next Right

Cool, got this shit beat...(take the exit ramp for Newark)

Welcome to Newark Airport

Excellent.

Keep Right For Newark Airport

Huh? Okay, hang on, keeping right...

Welcome to Newark Airport

Whew.

Next exit for Newark Airport

Oh, Mother, PLEEEASE, help meeeeeeeee....

...and finally, end up in Carteret/Rahway sniffing strange toluenes whilst furiously drumming on your forehead, while your uncaught flight to Hawaii lofts itself out of the airborne muck and thunders over your head. Find yourself that night locked into a closed and unlit IKEA, very closely akin to a Dali-esque nightmare...

Having grown up in New Jersey for most of my life, I will attest to three things as far as driving through my state is concerned:

1. Your sense of direction will only be useful about half of the time. Certain roads claim to run north/south, but actually run east/west -- Route 73, Route 287 (in the Plainfield-Perth Amboy region), etc. Also, just because you think you're going the right way doesn't mean you are. Near Trenton, 95 South and 295 North are the same road.

2. Road signs are only reliable about half the time. Anyone who drives south on Route 18 to get out of Rutgers University knows that the sign to get on Route 1 South is hidden behind several large trees and is halfway down the onramp; you only ever get warning for Route 1 North. Also, when I was getting off exit 57 of 295 the other day, getting onto 206, the ramp curved to the left, but the usual sign indicating to go left had fallen, and was pointing right, straight into a soundproofing wall.

3. Asking people for directions will only work about half the time. Most people in New Jersey don't know how to give directions -- with all those jughandles, circles, cloverleafs, and random left turn lanes in the right lane, who could understand them? "Go south on 73 west, stay to your right, make the next left, etc. etc. etc..." The most reliable people to get directions from are gas station attendants, business owners, and farmers -- they're the most willing to help you out of the state--I mean, to help you. And even then, don't ask them the whole way -- ask them how to get to a major highway. And pay attention when they say "the easiest way to get there is...". No matter how convoluted it is.

Driving in New Jersey is easy -- take away all sense of logic and left turns, and you've got it. Oh, and don't wear your seat belt, and keep your middle finger up at all times.


Incidentally, things Tannor forgot to mention in New Jersey that are neat:

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