Well, it's almost officially over. Labor Day is fast upon us, and with that, one last time to go down the shore before school starts. Traffic is always an issue if you're heading to the ocean. But as a resident of New Jersey, you know holiday weekends are the craziest. And with more cars on the road, there is more of an opportunity for vehicles accidents: car, truck, motorcycle and moped.
The last thing you want to do is end your summer with the beginning of a lawsuit. So, prepare before you go. Although the roads will be jammed, there are ways to mitigate your chances of being in a collision.
Mitigating your risk
One of the biggest things you can do to mitigate your risk of getting in an accident while you head out to Long Beach Island, is to remember:
• Leave early, leave late: If you can, get on the road before even the earliest early-bird. Not only will it make getting on the island quick and easy, but with less traffic, there are fewer opportunities of colliding with another vehicle. Similarly, if you can wait until an hour or so past sundown, there will be less traffic and you'll find the roads much easier to navigate.
• 3 second countdown: If you find that you are driving during a heavy traffic period, remember to leave 3 seconds between you and the car ahead. Pick a stationary object slightly ahead of you along the road such as a telephone pole or Wawa sign. Note when the car in front of you passes it. Then count slowly. If you reach that marker before the count of three, you are following too close and too fast. If you had to suddenly brake, you run the risk of rear-ending the car in front of you.
• Red lights mean stop: It's not just red traffic lights you need to brake for. If the car in front of you brakes--no matter how close to the car you are--you should brake, too. In this way, you maintain a safe distance at all times. If a driver in front of you is braking, it means they are likely seeing something you are not. Slowing down is never a bad option when you see red brake lights in front of you.
• Slow down: Which brings us to slowing down. Who doesn't want to get down the shore as fast as they can? You have your favorite spot on the sand and you want to stake it before someone else does. But fast drivers can also be distracted drivers. There's no need to risk an accident to arrive 15 minutes, or even a half hour, earlier. Make the drive relaxing and your vacation can start the minute you leave your driveway.
• Bring your beach badge: It's happened to us all at least once. You're halfway there, you can smell the ocean, taste the salt and you can see the seagulls. Your day at the beach is almost here! And then you realize--you left the beach badges on the kitchen counter, right next to the picnic lunch you also forgot.
You can either make a mad dash home, or pony up for new badges. Turning around is just going to make you tense and angry, and an angry driver can also be an aggressive driver. You don't mean to drive so close, you think, but if that driver would just speed up, already! Better to pay for new badges than risk an accident that will cost you far more in time, travel and trouble. (And as for lunch, well, there's never a wrong time for a cheesesteak.)
• Don't forget the sunblock: It's hard to be an attentive driver when you are trying to keep any part of your body from touching any part of your car.
Summer in Burlington County
Summer in Burlington County is a holiday unto its own: Jersey corn, Jersey tomatoes, Italian hoagies and sunburn. What's not to like? With a little bit of foresight and these handy tips, your summer can be nearly worry-free.