RANDOLPH,NJ-With the consistent snow storms hitting Randolph, it is hard to believe it has only affected the public in minimal ways. The biggest worry residents have faced is where to put all the snow.
"For the amount of snow we've had it doesn't seem to be as bad," said Detective Lieutenant, Chris Giuliani. "There's been nothing major. No one has been killed or anything like that. We've had no major injuries due to accidents this year."
Snow storms that come without warning are the ones that dramatically increase the number of accidents. The majority of those accidents tend to be fender benders.
Every time it snows there is of course a slight increase. Some people tend to drive the same way in bad weather the way they would in nice weather. Accidents are caused when a driver turns a corner down an icy hill without caution, and can no longer avoid a collision.
"If people don't need to go out during snow storms, they should stay home," said Giuliani. "There's no need to be out there."
Even though there are people with four-wheel drive vehicles, this is no excuse to drive without caution.
"People go too fast for the conditions," said Giuliani. "Even if your doing 20 miles an hour but your driving on somebody's bumper and you have to hit the breaks, you're going to slide right into them."
Another contributing factor is when a driver is unfamiliar with the road. Certain roads might be winding and have a lot of curves. If a driver is not familiar with the area and unaware of when a curve is coming up then an accident may result.
This year drivers have been extra safe, especially, since word of a salt shortage hit the news.
"Our road department is really good," said Giuliani. "Our director of the Public Works Department, Tom Spring, really knows what he's doing. I really think he budgeted the salt enough to get us through the last storm."
Giuliani reported that during the last storm, there were not many people on the road. A lot of people heeded the warning and stayed indoors. The salt budgeting and the inactivity of drivers really helped keep the number of accidents to a minimum.
An officer prepares for a snow storm the way he/she prepares for any normal day on the job. The department's Support Services division is expecting a higher number of calls on a snow storm day.
"For us it's business as usual," said Giuliani. "Everybody knows that if it's snowing, they come in, get in uniform just to be ready for that kind of stuff. We still do our normal job duties but the road will take precedence on those days."
There are several four-wheel drive vehicles that assist an officers to an accident scene. Last year the department purchased a Ford Utility Vehicle to help get around during storms.
Although Giuliani has not seen accidents as a main issue, he did note another problem due to the weather.
"One of the problems that we face during all the snow storms is that there is an ordinance in town that says people aren't suppose to push the snow across the road," said Giuliani.
The reason behind the ordinance is to assist the road department. If a private plower shovels out a resident's driveway it leaves snow on the road called windrows, which freezes up.
Another problem the department faces is when residents park on the road during a snow storm. These parked vehicles make it harder for the road department to do their job. The Police Department tries to help by getting residents to move their cars with either a ticket or talking to the vehicle owner.
"The reason behind these ordinance is to help assist the plowers get the roads clear," said Giuliani. "The faster we get the roads clear, the faster people get back on the road where it'll be safe. It also helps eliminate the added cost. You don't have to go back over and over again and put more salt down in the same area."
Randolph has a law that prohibits drivers to park on the roads between the hours of 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. or a ticket will be issued. People cannot park when the roads are snow covered.
"It's been a cold winter," said Giuliani. "It's been a long winter. I think that everybody is ready for it to be over. All things considered, the township itself has been great getting the message about the weather out to people."