Friday, May 22, 2009

Shore Driving Tips

Hello from Cape May! Lovely down here right now, though a bit chillier than in the Philadelphia region, especially at night. So if you're still throwing things into your overnight bag, make sure to include jeans and some long sleeved tops.

I drove down during the evening hours of last night, and was a bit shocked by the heavy traffic on Route 42. I know it's the day before a holiday weekend, but I thought those crowds would have dispersed by 8pm. Apparently not. It'll be a parking lot during Friday Rush Hour, though -- good luck if you've got to make it through. It gets better after Ocean City. Promise.

I thought about that drive a lot as I zipped down the AC Expressway to Exit Zero of the Garden State Parkway. I'm used to putting the car on cruise control the whole way. Not during the summer season. So here's a few tips for your drive tomorrow (or any other shore day).

1. If you're driving 70 miles per hour, get out of the left lane. Yes, that's 5 MPH over the speed limit, but who listens to that posted sign? For the good and safety of the drivers around you, GET TO THE RIGHT. Seventy is not fast enough to warrant the fast lane, especially in the two-lane part of the AC Expressway, especially with impatient drivers.

2. I don't care if the car in front of you has a DVD on. Do not follow close. I saw two Escalades with movies tonight (also breaking the 70 MPH-in-left-lane rule). They both had people close enough behind them that they were either tailing or watching along with Sponge Bob or whatever rich kids watch these days. It's not safe. Also, parents, is it that long to keep the kids away from TV, too? Turning the thing off might be safer for everyone, too.

3. If you do not have EZ Pass, make sure that your toll money is out and counted BEFORE YOU START DRIVING. I saw many cars either tapping on breaks or slowing down as they rooted for dollars and change as they approached the toll booths. Again, not safe. The AC Expressway Toll is $3 each way. The Garden State Parkway Toll is $1 each way. Plan ahead.

4. If the cluster of cars in front of you all hits the breaks at the same time, they're probably slowing because they see a police car in the bushes. Heed their warning and save yourself a ticket.

5. Be nice to the truckers. I'm sure they're not anxious to be driving on a busy weekend, and they have a lot more space to haul than you do. As for the tour busses...well, it's probably in your best interest to be nice to you or else you'll get buzzed or pushed off the road by one. I've had that happen to me three times. They're mean, but unlike a fight with a school bully, this one could get you killed.

6. Be nice to the locals once you roll into town. Imagine how you'd feel if the population of your home time grew 10 fold in one day. Yes, shore towns rely on tourism to pump up their economies, but people still live there year round. Think about that before blocking in a driveway.

7. Look out for runners/walkers/bikers, especially when turning in and out of driveways. I was almost hit TWICE this morning running past a 7-11 because people weren't looking (and I was on the sidewalk and slowed to a walk).

8. If you happen to see a young woman who's been stuck in a space at a Wawa parking lot for five minutes, yet decide you can't wait yourself and give her the "wait a minute" sign, don't be shocked when she gives you the middle finger back. Because you're rude.

I'm spent last night at the Grand Hotel of Cape May, which I picked because of the orange jacket incident. It's a servicable beach hotel -- nothing fancy, but across the street from the ocean, and clean. I have a balcony and a view of that ocean too. I'll be headed up to Sea Isle later, where I'll be anchored the rest of the weekend.

It's getting busy around here -- lots of activity last night, like kids cramming for an exam, all to be ready for today. So enjoy your drive down, and be nice to those people stuck in Wawa parking lots!

Digg this


Babette said...

Love the tips and loved the reason for your stay---HAD to go back and read the orange jacket story. It's a good one. Enjoy your weekend. Our season here in S. Florida is waning just as yours comes in full swing.

Ann Delaney said...

Thanks for the comment about us "year round folks"- we appreciate (and depend on) the visitors, but it can be a bit overwhelming for us on this first big weekend!

Anonymous said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you! Brilliant advice.