Thoughts & Views: Drive the lane you’re in & don’t foul up

It’s down to the Final Four. No, not NCAA teams. (Since I don’t follow basketball, I have no idea who’s still playing, if anyone.) I am talking about the Final Four in the NJDHTS tournament.

That acronym stands for the N.J. Division of Highway Traffic Safety. (Does Jersey have a Division of Local Streets Traffic Safety? It damn well should. Somebody talk to Christie, if he’s not wandering around somewhere in the Midwest.)

Anyway, the Final Four in the NJDHTS “March Driving Madness” tournament are: Texting & Driving, Yielding, Move Over Law and Headlight Use.

Speeding, Tailgating, Directional Use and Left Lane Travel have already bitten the blacktop. No surprise there. Jersey folk consider speeding, tailgating and left-lane travel to be constitutionally protected rights. As for misuse/nonuse of directional signals, many have no idea such equipment exists.

Before you become more confused, I shall explain.

Recently, we received a NJDHTS press release about “March Driving Madness,” which is “an online poll that is asking the state’s drivers which bad driving habits need to be fixed on the Garden State’s roads.”

My answer was, “All of them,” but that was not an option.

The tournament idea apparently was spawned in February after the division posted queries on Facebook and Twitter regarding N.J. drivers’ flaws.

Hundreds responded, with 28 different complaints.

From these, eight (cited above) were chosen for a tourney. More than 1,000 votes were tallied, resulting in the four finalists.

“The bad habits with the most votes will be the focus of public service announcements that the division plans to run on New Jersey’s radio airwaves in the coming months,” the release noted.

Personally, I think the Final Four are wise picks.

Headlights: Just as some drivers don’t know their car has directional signals, many obviously are unaware of low beams.

Yielding requires courtesy, and yo! this is Jersey. (BTW, on the Manhattan side of the Lincoln Tunnel, a N.J.-bound multi-lane approach route now carries signs saying “TAKE TURNS.” I fear for drivers who may be unfamiliar with colloquial English. Think about it.)

Re: texting and driving: I wonder how many voters in the poll sent their online responses while behind the wheel.

As for the Move Over Law, I always move over whenever any type of emergency vehicle approaches with lights flashing and siren wailing. If I am on a local street, I move over and stop until the vehicle passes by, which, it being an emergency vehicle, takes about 6 seconds. Even so, invariably the driver behind me starts honking in fury.

Someday, I know I will become the victim of road rage. I can only hope that the vehicle for which I have moved over is a police car so its occupant can arrest the motorist who has shot me.

For more about the “March Driving Madness” tournament (they may be down to the Terrible Two by now), visit the division’s web page, its Facebook page (New Jersey DHTS) or tweet @NJTraffic- Safety.

The champion will be announced April 6.

– Karen Zautyk 

The Observer Staff