2015 News Release

November 24, 2015

NJSP Office of Public Affairs (609) 882-2000 X6516

Plan for Roads to be Stuffed Like Turkeys This Thanksgiving

State Police and Division of Highway Traffic Safety Offer Safety Tips

West Trenton, N.J. - Huge numbers of people will be taking advantage of low fuel costs this Thanksgiving holiday to reconnect with friends, gather with family, and of course, enjoy a turkey feast. The challenge is getting where you need to go safely and on time. The New Jersey State Police and the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety are urging everyone to take responsibility for your travel decisions to help make this a safe and happy holiday.

"Some preparation before you for leave, and a little more caution on the crowded roads might save you from being part of a holiday tragedy," said New Jersey State Police Colonel Rick Fuentes. "Regardless of whether you’re traveling by air, rail, or road, be aware of your surroundings and immediately report suspicious activity to authorities," he added.

Each year, tens of thousands of people die in crashes and that number spikes during the Thanksgiving weekend (6 p.m. Wednesday Nov. 25 to 6 a.m. Monday, Nov. 30). In New Jersey last year, crashes claimed eight people during the Thanksgiving weekend – four in vehicles, 2 driving motorcycles, one bicyclist, and one pedestrian.

"The good news is that by following some basic safety tips drivers can greatly reduce their chances of being involved in an accident," said Gary Poedubicky, Acting Director of the Division of Highway Traffic Safety. "They can take part in the spirit of the holidays by making the roads safer for themselves and their fellow travelers."

Buckling up is the simplest and easiest way for travelers to stay safe. Wearing a seatbelt reduces the risk of fatal injury to front seat passenger by an estimated 45 percent, according to the NHTA. The risk of moderate to serious injuries is reduced by 50 percent for those passengers.

Alcohol contributed to three of the eight fatal accidents during the 2014 Thanksgiving holiday period. Driving sober, always crucial in keeping yourself and others safe on the road, is especially important during the holidays when the celebratory atmosphere may encourage people to drink more than usual.

"If you care about the family or guests at your gathering, make sure they are not drinking before they drive home. You might just save a life for the small cost of possibly offending those you love," said Col. Fuentes.

Other tips to avoid road trip mishaps:

  • Fill up your gas tank
  • Check fluids (Including windshield washer fluid and anti-freeze)
  • Check tire pressure and windshield wipers
  • Bring a mobile phone with charger
  • Let someone know your travel plans
  • Steer clear of "road ragers." Challenging an aggressive driver for a position is a dangerous way to get to your destination a few seconds sooner

You should also have an emergency kit in your car which should include these basic items:

  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • Folding shovel
  • Bottles of water and snacks
  • Blanket
  • Jumper cables
  • Flares or reflective highway warning triangle
  • Basic first aid supplies
  • Ice scraper/brush

November weather is sometimes tricky. Monitor weather conditions before you leave. Also visit www.ready.nj.gov, the website of the NJSP Office of Emergency Management, for social media links and other sources of information.

Lastly, if you see unattended bags, if you notice people taking unusual interest in security, or people in restricted areas that look like they don't belong there, or anything else that may signal a threat to safety, report that info to the terrorism tip line at 866-4-SAFE-NJ (866-472-3365).

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