Safety is a Two-Way Street…Especially in the Winter.
During the winter months, it is important for pedestrians and motorists to focus on sharing the road. Roads and sidewalks are slippery, snowstorms can make it hard to see and there are fewer hours of daylight. During the past several years the number of pedestrian injuries and fatalities have increased. We want to change that and help you be safe this winter when walking, running or cycling in New Jersey. On this site you’ll find easy:
Wear the right gear!
Take extra precautions when getting ready to go out in the winter. The roads can be slippery. Sidewalks and shoulder of road may be snow covered, make sure drivers can see you at all times.
- When wearing hats and scarves – make sure your vision is not blocked and you can hear background noise.
- Wear shoes with good grips – to prevent slips and falls when walking.
- Wear bright clothing and use reflectors – on clothing or bicycles when traveling at night as sidewalks and shoulder of roads may be snow covered.
Be extra cautious
Stay alert to your surroundings at all times. Crashes frequently occur during the winter months due to icy road conditions and slippery sidewalks.
- Avoid using your phone – and wearing headphones, especially when crossing.
- Avoid alcohol – it impairs your judgment, slows your reaction time and may alter balance.
- Schedule your trip – plan to do your errands in good weather and day light. Give yourself more time so you won’t slip on icy sidewalks.
Follow the Rules
Learn and follow all traffic rules, signs and signals. Remember, laws are designed for your safety:
- Use cross walks and cross at intersections – make eye contact with the driver before crossing.
- Use sidewalks when available – if not stay close to the curb and walk facing traffic.
- Obey WALK/DON’T WALK signs
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Safety for Cyclists
Riding a bike is great exercise but always check the weather forecast before you ride. Roads can be dangerous for cycling in the winter, it is important to be aware of icy road conditions. If you do ride in the winter, make sure you are equipped with the right gear such as: warm clothing, appropriate tires, reflectors/lights, mud guards or fenders, and an approved helmet.
While injuries can happen anywhere, be especially cautious when riding on roadways where most bicycle-motor vehicle collisions occur. Follow these tips:
- Always wear an approved bicycle helmet (head injuries are the greatest risks for cyclists!)
- Obey all the traffic laws and use hand signals so vehicles know where you are headed
- Wear protective and reflective clothing for best visibility
- Make sure your bicycle has a headlamp if riding at night
- Keep your eyes and ears open – avoid using headphones and smartphones
Wearing a helmet to protect your head in the event of a crash is a no brainer. But wait! Before you strap on that helmet on yourself or a child, make sure your helmet:
- Is designed for your activity (bicycle helmets are different than those for skateboarding/rollerblading)
- Fits properly
- Does not have any cracks or defects
- Has a SNELL or ASTM seal of approval on it.
- Is replaced every 3-5 years
As a motorist, be mindful of pedestrians at crosswalks and intersections as well as in downtown areas where pedestrians tend to jaywalk – randomly crossing in the middle of a block or in crowded areas and event venues.
When driving always keep your eyes open for different types of pedestrians, including:
- Children – especially near schools, playgrounds and neighborhoods
- Dog walkers
- Runners and walkers
- Seniors and others with assistive devices such as canes, walkers or wheelchairs
- School crossing guards
Whether you have kids you bring to school or you are just passing by one, parents and motorists have a responsibility to help ensure the safety of children and teens, “student pedestrians” – especially in school zones! Stay alert and following these safety tips:
- Use designated drop-off and pick-up areas and do not cross lanes to pass.
- Obey the posted speed limits (25mph or lower in some areas)
- Watch for students crossing outside the designated areas (especially when they are running late!)
- Look for and obey crossing guards directing students and traffic
- Don’t forget, students may be wearing headphones or using smartphones while walking.
From construction workers to landscapers — lots of people work on and near roadways. Make sure you “Give them a Brake” by slowing down and allowing space for them to work safely. In many cases these workers are using equipment that may prevent them from hearing vehicles coming. Keep your eyes out for:
- Sanitation workers
- Tow-truck operators
- Police & Emergency Responders
- Crossing guards
- Utility workers
- Construction workers
- Mail/package carriers