State Official Encourages Winter Weather Preparedness

cold_thermometerWEST TRENTON—Colonel Rick Fuentes, superintendent of the New Jersey State Police and director of the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management, is encouraging all New Jersey residents to prepare for winter weather.

As such, New Jerseyans are strongly encouraged to prepare their homes, vehicles, and discuss with family members the potential effects of winter storms as well as learning about how to calmly and safely manage some of the winter season’s challenging conditions.

“By proactively preparing for winter weather before the first snow flakes fall, you are helping to protect yourself and your family from the winter elements that sometimes encounter in our great state,” said Fuentes.

The following is a brief list of general winter weather preparedness tips:

Travel Items to Include: All cars should be equipped with road maps, a cell phone, a shovel, a windshield scraper, a towrope, booster cables, and a brightly colored cloth to use as a distress signal. A bag of sand or non-clumping cat litter to spread under tires if stuck in snow is also recommended.

Proper Travel Notification: Drivers should inform someone that they are taking a trip, where they are going, the routes that will be traveled and when they are expected to return. Upon reaching their destination, drivers should call to report arrival. If traveling a long distance, remember to fill up on fuel prior to making your trip. While traveling, stop frequently to refill the fuel tank. The breaks will help drivers stay alert.

On the Road: Always follow the rules of the road and adhere to the following guidelines:

• Always buckle your seat belt.

• Brake properly to avoid skidding. If driving on snow or ice, start slowly and brake gently. Begin braking early when approaching an intersection.

• If the vehicle starts to slide, ease off the gas pedal or brakes. Steer into the direction of the skid until regaining traction, and then straighten the vehicle. For vehicles with antilock brakes, apply steady pressure.

• Visibility and speed:

— In fog, drive with headlights set on dim or use fog lights.

— In rain, fog, snow or sleet, stay within the limits of your vision. If it is too difficult to see, pull off the road and stop.

• Drive slowly and increase following distance. Vehicle speed should adjust for conditions and match the flow of traffic.

• Watch for slick spots. Be physically and mentally prepared to react.

Additionally, a winter weather safety guide can be found on the official New Jersey Office of Emergency Management website at Logging on to the website will allow individuals to access, download, and printout valuable winter storm related information from the state’s foremost emergency management site free of charge and available anytime day or night. Winter safety tips are also available to residents without internet access by calling 2-1-1.

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