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NJ Vocabulary: The Jersey Slide

The Jersey Slide is a move that many Garden State residents have probably pulled before without even knowing it. The fact that the Jersey Slide is also known as the Jersey Weave, the Jersey Swerve, and the Jersey Shuffle only makes it more confusing. And while technically, it could be explained as a sort of delicate dance move, the Jersey Slide is one that is performed not on a dance floor, but in traffic.

That’s right – the Jersey Slide is a typical bonehead Jersey driver move that you will see over and over if you travel on the Garden State Parkway or the New Jersey Turnpike (and I use the term “bonehead” with the utmost fondness for my fellow Jersey drivers).

The Jersey SlideNoun. A move in which a driver goes from the far left lane of traffic all the way over to the exit ramp in one swift motion, usually without using a blinker. Also known as the Jersey Weave, Swerve, and Shuffle.

Example: “That guy’s lucky he didn’t cause an accident doing a Jersey Slide in Friday night shore traffic!”

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This little bit of Jersey vocabulary takes all the imagery about New Jerseyans and rolls it into one convenient picture. We are bad drivers. We’re obnoxious drivers. We are slightly dangerous drivers.

However, as a born and raised New Jerseyan, I prefer to think of it as a talent. We are not bad drivers. We are quick, capable drivers who are able to make split-second decisions while (usually) avoiding a crash.

The Jersey Slide in Action

Let’s break it down for a second, to see just how and why the Jersey Slide is such a large part of the Garden State’s rich history of questionable drivers.

Imagine you’re headed somewhere for the weekend. Like, duh, the Jersey shore.

jersey slide

You pack up your car and hop on the Garden State Parkway. (What exit, you ask? Why, I’m from Exit 135. And you?)

You’re cruising along doing 85 in a 65 mph zone, because you’re an awesome driver. The music is blasting and your friends are snapping selfies to post on Instagram.

Then, a fight breaks out amongst your passengers. One wants to listen to Dave Matthews Band, while the other is screaming for Taylor Swift’s new album.

Obviously you’ve been in the left lane for the entirety of the trip, because that silly little law about it being just a passing lane isn’t really true. And everybody else is doing it!

Amidst the yelling about which Pandora station to put on, you realize you’re about to pass your exit – Exit 63 for Long Beach Island.

You glance to the right and see your opportunity, the smallest of breaks in the traffic to allow you to careen over the four lanes and onto the exit ramp.

So you go for it. Success!

Sure, you leave a trail of angry beeping motorists in your wake, but what was your other option – to pass the exit and turn around?

Ain’t nobody got time for that.

And really, for this to become a law-abiding, respected driving move, all you would need is one thing. A turn signal.

Too bad turn signals are for the weak. Like Philly drivers.

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