Month: December 2015

6 roadside curiosities in Central Jersey

Although the holiday season is synonymous with gifts, gatherings with friends and family and the excitement of ringing in the New Year, there’s another less-pleasant activity that also comes along with it – driving.

We’re all used to packing up the car and heading up and down the state to see our loved ones – stuck in traffic, crammed into seats with others, battling unfortunate weather.

However, by stopping at some of these roadside attractions – and curiosities – in Central Jersey, you may be able to make your trek a little more interesting.

The Edison Light Tower, based at the Thomas Edison Center at Menlo Park at 37 Christie St. in Edison, marks the location of Thomas Edison’s Menlo Park laboratory. (Photo: ~File photo)

The Edison Light Tower, based at the Thomas Edison Center at Menlo Park at 37 Christie St. in Edison, marks the location of Thomas Edison’s Menlo Park laboratory. (Photo: ~File photo)

The Edison Light Tower, based at the Thomas Edison Center at Menlo Park at 37 Christie St. in Edison, marks the location of Thomas Edison’s Menlo Park laboratory. Rising 131 feet above the tower’s terrace, the tower’s top is meant to represent an incandescent light bulb and originally included an audio system which could be heard from two miles away.

Today, the bulb shines nightly from the tower, which was constructed in 1937 from three tons of steel and 1200 barrels of cement. Recently refurbished and rededicated, the tower is listed on the New Jersey and National Registers of Historic Places.

For more information, visit menloparkmuseum.org or call 732-549-3299.

P.C. Richard and Son is the newest owner of the former Flagship. (Photo: ~Courtesy of Google Maps)

P.C. Richard and Son is the newest owner of the former Flagship. (Photo: ~Courtesy of Google Maps)

The Flagship, which was originally commissioned as a luxury cruise nightclub in 1938, now serves as a P.C. Richard and Son – which takes up an entire block as it forever “sails” from 2264 Route 22 in Union.

Four years after its building, it was destroyed by a fire, but locals weren’t ready to see their ‘ship in the harbor’ go. After World War II, it was rebuilt and hosted many of the celebrities of the day, including Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis and Jackie Gleason. Later and into today, it’s been the home of various retail stores.

Spiro Drakoulakous, or ‘The Greek’s,’ imagination is the source of Greek’s Playland attractions. (Photo: ~File photo)

Spiro Drakoulakous, or ‘The Greek’s,’ imagination is the source of Greek’s Playland attractions. (Photo: ~File photo)

“Greek’s Playland,” or Garden Falls and the Stone Museum, which is at 608 Spotswood Englishtown Road in Monroe, isn’t exactly a Disney World or a Universal Studios. In its 87 acres of attractions, ranging from a Cobra helicopter to a 30-foot tall brightly painted clown constructed from an old oil tank, there is no apparent theme.

Spiro Drakoulakous, or ‘The Greek’s,’ imagination is the source of Greek’s Playland attractions. He told Weird NJ that he built the playland for handicapped children to come and have a fun day just like any other child. Today, entrance is free for those coming from state- and locally-sponsored groups.

For more information, visit gardenfalls.com or call 732-656-3333.

Northlandz, called "a fantasy journey" by the Travel Channel and a "breathtaking beauty" by the Discovery Channel. (Photo: ~File photo)

Northlandz, called “a fantasy journey” by the Travel Channel and a “breathtaking beauty” by the Discovery Channel.
(Photo: ~File photo)

Northlandz, called “a fantasy journey” by the Travel Channel and a “breathtaking beauty” by the Discovery Channel, is Flemington’s own wonder of the world, located at 495 Route 202. The world’s largest train museum, the mile-walk through self-guided tour includes hundreds of exhibits containing scenes such as a Civil War battle display, the world’s only toothpick farm and a plane crash site.

A doll museum and 2,000-pipe organ are also in the museum, which is filled with items handmade by Bruce Williams Zaccagnino of Flemington, the owner and founder. The museum has two new wings planned, including exhibits of the Himalayas, the Rockies and Hoover Dam.

For more information, visit northlandz.com or call 908-782-4022.

The Mercedes Benz Tombstone belongs to Ray Tse, Jr., who couldn’t wait to get his driver’s license and own a Mercedes Benz. (Photo: ~File photo)

The Mercedes Benz Tombstone belongs to Ray Tse, Jr., who couldn’t wait to get his driver’s license and own a Mercedes Benz. (Photo: ~File photo)

The Mercedes Benz Tombstone, located on the north end of the Rosedale and Rosehill Cemetery at 355 E. Linden Ave. in Linden, belongs to Ray Tse, Jr., who couldn’t wait to get his driver’s license and own a Mercedes Benz. But he died in 1981 when he was 15 years old.

His millionaire brother, David, commissioned a 36-ton granite memorial sculpted to resemble a full-size 1982 Mercedes Benz 2400 Diesel limousine in his honor, which reportedly cost $250,000. The vanity license plates read “RAY TSE,” although the hood ornament and side view mirrors are missing.

The location of the 1938 Martin Landing Site Monument plaque is no accident – the Martian landings were centered on Grover’s Mill, near Princeton. (Photo: ~Courtesy of forensicgenealogy.com)

The location of the 1938 Martin Landing Site Monument plaque is no accident – the Martian landings were centered on Grover’s Mill, near Princeton. (Photo: ~Courtesy of forensicgenealogy.com)

The 1938 Martian Landing Site Monument, located at Van Nest Park on Cranbury Road. in Princeton Junction, depicts a heated Orson Welles announcing the “live news broadcast” that an attack from Mars was underway, a hoax that occurred as an adaptation of H. G. Wells’ War of the Worlds in 1938. Of the 12 million people that listened to the broadcast, many believed it to be true.

The plaque also depicts a 1930s family as they cower near their radio, beneath a tentacled flying saucer. The location of the plaque is no accident – the Martian landings were centered on Grover’s Mill, near Princeton.

Trekking your way back-and-forth during the holidays can take the seasonal cheer out of anyone’s day. However, stop for a pit-stop at one of these Central Jersey roadside attractions, and you just may miss some traffic and have an interesting story to bring to your next party.

Last-minute holiday gifts in downtown Somerville

Written for MyCentralJersey.com

With only a few days left until Christmas, two distinct types of people are emerging — those who are sitting in their living rooms with a mug of hot chocolate as they got their holiday shopping done before Thanksgiving, and those who are left staring at a list full of gifts they still need to buy.

If you’re a Central Jerseyan whose last-minute shopping is becoming worrisome, you’re in luck. Downtown Somerville, an area historically known for its restaurants, has quickly become a retail town with 40 to 50 unique store options for holidays gifts.

“People are becoming more frustrated with how exhausting shopping at the mall is,” said Beth Anne Macdonald, executive director of the Downtown Somerville Alliance. “By shopping on Main Street, they’re not walking seven miles from the outermost parking space.”

Jenna  Intersimone/Staff Photo

Jenna Intersimone/Staff Photo

Vince Baglivo, communications director of the Downtown Somerville Alliance, is a self-proclaimed last-minute shopper on a mission — his shopping is never random and he likes to give gifts that have meaning.

“If I can find six or seven stores within walking distance, that’s very helpful to me,” he said. “But anyone can get a mall gift — you can be a last-minute shopper, but it’s pretty cool when you can pull out a Christmas gift bag with all of these interesting items that have a backstory.”

For those looking for finer home gifts, shoppers can head to the Design Studio of Somerville, a holiday store that sells Christmas ornaments, home décor and candles. Crystal Palace is another option for finer gifts made of Swarovski Crystal and Waterford Crystal.

Jenna  Intersimone/Staff Photo

Jenna Intersimone/Staff Photo

Shoppers looking for interesting apparel that can’t be found just anywhere can head to Melange for women’s clothing and accessories (offering free gift wrapping) and Evolve Clothing Gallery for men’s clothing and accessories.

Evolve Clothing Gallery, a “deliberately eclectic SoHo-feel shop,” said Baglivo, only sells limited styles in small collections, so customers can find items that they would never find in big-box stores.

Options for small home, kitchen and personal-care gifts includes those found at Three Hearts Home, which celebrates small craftsmen and artisans and sells items such as soaps, glasses and kitchen and writing utensils. Shoppers can also check out The Hive, a honey store that carries products made from honey, including hand creams, personal-care items and beeswax candles. Many of these items make for ideal stocking stuffers.

Jenna  Intersimone/Staff Photo

Jenna Intersimone/Staff Photo

For those shopping for loved ones with less traditional tastes, you can head to Comic Fortress, which sells comics, collectibles and other quirky items, as well as Urban Chaos Smoke Shop, a vape and smoke shop.

To get a gift that will serve as an experience for the recipient, shoppers can also pick up restaurant gift cards from popular eateries such as Verve, a French-American bistro, Casa Luna, a popular Mexican restaurant, and Alfonso’s, a favorite for Italian cuisine and pizza, among many others.

“People are afraid to spend their own money on a new restaurant, but giving a gift certificates is a great way to offer the chance to try a great new place,” said Macdonald.

Jenna  Intersimone/Staff Photo

Jenna Intersimone/Staff Photo

Paramount Pampering, a salon and spa that opened recently, is also offering holiday gift certificates for services including hair care, nail care, skin care and makeup application, some of which are included in pampering packages.

Besides finding items that venture outside the gift box, shoppers will find that when shopping in downtown Somerville, they can get information about the products they’re buying from shopkeepers that isn’t available from many mall employees, as most large stores employ seasonal workers who don’t know much about the products they’re selling.

“Small businesses are just as invested in your experience as you are,” said Baglivo. “They can’t run behind a corporate logo — the reviews and experience matter to them.”

Jenna  Intersimone/Staff Photo

Jenna Intersimone/Staff Photo

Because of events such as Small Business Saturday, as well as more marketing efforts, shopping in downtown Somerville — rather than just grabbing a meal — has become more common.

Randy Pitts, curator of Evolve Clothing Gallery, said that in the past few months, he has noticed more people coming into his store with bags in their hands from other downtown Somerville shops.

“We have always been a restaurant town, but now we have retail, too,” he said.

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Downtown Somerville shopping

Clothing and accessories: Melange at 85 W. Main St. for women’s clothing, Evolve Clothing Gallery at 80 W. Main St. for men’s clothing

Fine home gifts: Three Hearts Home at 87 W. Main St. for handmade items, From The Hive at 4 Division St. for products made from honey, Crystal Palace at 65 W. Main St. for fine crystal items, Discover Wine at 66 W. Main St. for fine wines 

Outside the box: Comic Fortress at 59 W. Main St. for comics and collectibles,Urban Chaos Smoke Shop at 16 Division St. for vaping and smoking items 

Make a day of it: Paramount Pampering at 56 W. Main St. for spa services,Alfonso’s at 99 W. Main St., Verve at 18 E. Main St., Casa Luna at 30 S. Doughty Ave. for restaurant gift certificates 

To check out all of the stores in downtown Somerville, head todowntownsomerville.com/visit/shopping

Jenna  Intersimone/Staff Photo

Jenna Intersimone/Staff Photo

Gambling and more an hour away at Sands

Atlantic City may be a hike for people living in North and Central Jersey, but when it’s time for some weekend gambling, they pack up the car and venture for what can be an almost three-hour drive.

However, there is a much closer alternative for those looking for a weekend away — Sands Bethlehem, a gambling, shopping, dining and entertainment venue about an hour away from Somerset County.

“Sands Bethlehem offers the amenities and features guests look for in a gaming destination but in a closer drive from home,” said Mark Juliano, president of Sands Bethlehem.

Courtesy of Sands Bethlehem

Courtesy of Sands Bethlehem

Eight million people visit Sands Bethlehem every year, with about 90 percent of them staying overnight in its hotel. These guests play at 3,000 slot machines and 200 table games, including in a 30-table poker room.

Aside from gambling, visitors can head to Sands’ 10 dining options, including three signature restaurants from celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse, as well as the newly announced Buddy V’s of TLC’s “Cake Boss.”

Plus, after dinner, they can go to the various nightlife venues in Sands, including Molten Lounge, which offers free live entertainment seven nights a week. The Vision Bar, also in Sands, has bottle service and DJs on Friday and Saturday nights, and guests can also head to the Sands Bethlehem Events Center to check out performers, comedians and sporting events.

Courtesy of Sands Bethlehem

Courtesy of Sands Bethlehem

“Between the gambling, entertainment, shopping and kids activities, there is something for every member of the family without having to leave the property,” said Juliano.

Outside of Sands Bethlehem, guests frequently head to the nearby Allentown Art Museum, the Crayola Experience, Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom, the Lehigh Valley Zoo or they check out the minor-league Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (baseball) or Lehigh Valley Phantoms (hockey).

During Christmastime in Bethlehem, walking tours, a nighttime bus tour and carriage rides are also available to visitors, as well as Christkindlmarkt on the SteelStacks and Christmas City Village, large outdoor holiday markets.

Courtesy of Sands Bethlehem

Courtesy of Sands Bethlehem

Sands Bethlehem also plays a huge role in the area itself as it is the cornerstone of the redevelopment of what once was among the largest brownfield areas in the country.

“The resort has generated significant traffic and has exposed many visitors to Bethlehem and the greater Lehigh Valley area,” said Michael Stershic, president of Discover Lehigh Valley. “Also, because of the tax revenue it has generated, it has helped support the infrastructure needed to support projects like the SteelStacks campus and the Hoover-Mason Trestle, a visitor center, public restrooms and more.”

Visitors will notice that Sands Bethlehem has a distinct look involving a combination of exposed steel and brick exterior, appearing as a mill building. This is no accident, as the venue works to preserve the legendary Bethlehem Steel Company that was formerly housed on its property. Bethelem Steel opened its doors in 1857 and produced much of the equipment used by the United States armed forces in World War I and World War II. The company closed in 1995.

Courtesy of Sands Bethlehem

Courtesy of Sands Bethlehem

In 2007, Sands Bethlehem purchased the 126-acre property and remediated it while also preserving many of the historic Bethlehem Steel plant structures.

Artwork from Bethlehem Steel headquarters is throughout the complex, as well as photographs and engineering drawings from the steel-making process.

Because of Sands Bethlehem’s presence in the community since 2009, the area has seen an increase in tourism and it is the largest visitor attraction, followed by Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom. Nearby hotels have also seen an increase in demand, occupancy and rates.

“Where else can you gamble, eat good food and see blast furnaces up close and personal, all in the birthplace of the American industrial revolution?” said Stershic. “I don’t believe these stories all in one place are available in Atlantic City, or anywhere else for that matter.”

Courtesy of Sands Bethlehem

Courtesy of Sands Bethlehem

Sands Bethlehem

Where: 77 Sands Blvd, Bethlehem (about one hour from Somerset County)

Rates: Starting at $149 a night until Dec. 31.

Contact: Call 484-777-7777 or visit pasands.com

‘Um pedaco’ of Portugal in the Ironbound

Story written for DailyRecord.com and MyCentralJersey.com

Lately, the hotly contested issue on everyone’s minds — and tongues — is immigration.

However, those living in the Ironbound, also known as Down Neck and a part of Newark’s East Ward, have a different perspective than many other Americans.

“Everyone is an immigrant here,” said Vince Baglivo, communications director at the Ironbound Business Improvement District.

The Ironbound has been an Italian and Polish neighborhood, but over time, it has changed into one with overwhelming Portuguese, Spanish and Brazilian traditions, as well as one with Central and South American influence.

The rooster is a common Portuguese icon. Jenna Intersimone/Staff Photo

The rooster is a common Portuguese icon. Jenna Intersimone/Staff Photo

Even though the Ironbound, which is home to over 500 businesses, is rooted in immigrant traditions with authentic restaurants, shops and things to do — mostly Portuguese, making it a ‘pedaco,’ or piece, of Portugal — by no means is the section trapped in the past. Instead, the area takes a modern spin to its world-class sports scene, entertainment venues and culinary experience.

With over 170 restaurants in the Ironbound, those with and without Portuguese descent flock to the neighborhood for quality fare.

Some of the popular restaurants in the Ironbound include Portugalia Bar and Restaurant, Iberia Peninsula Restaurant and Sol-Mar for authentic Portuguese cuisine, the Spanish Tavern for a more formal dining experience, Catas Restaurant for empanadas with a contemporary touch, and Sabor Unido for a traditional Portuguese meal.

“People like to go to the restaurants they are most comfortable with and have been going to for years, but we are encouraging them to explore,” said Baglivo. “There are many new restaurants owned by young restaurateurs who are keeping their traditions alive but spinning them in a new way.”

Fine Portuguese wines can be purchased at Lisbon Liquors. ~Courtesy of Vince Baglivo

Fine Portuguese wines can be purchased at Lisbon Liquors. ~Courtesy of Vince Baglivo

Campino Restaurant has about 1,600 visitors per week, of which 40 percent are Portuguese. The restaurant has recently been renovated, so it’s more polished but still has a traditional feel with its hand-painted tiles and Portuguese servers, many of whom speak Portuguese.

Olivia Borges, director of imports at Campino Restaurant, said, “A new generation of immigrants are heading here to eat because there is a huge variety of cuisine. You can get anything like Portuguese, Brazilian, American, Japanese and Chinese food in the Ironbound.”

“Portuguese food is so good,” said Seth Grossman, executive director of the Ironbound Business Improvement District. “If you come here to get a food product, it’s going to take a bit longer to get it because the Portuguese put a little love in everything they make.”

It isn’t just dinnertime that brings in people of Portuguese descent and otherwise to the area. Some come once a month from all over the East Coast to shop for food and other items.

The Ironbound is known for its clean and safe streets. ~Courtesy of Vince Baglivo

The Ironbound is known for its clean and safe streets. ~Courtesy of Vince Baglivo

Some of the popular shops in the Ironbound are Pegasus, a soccer store that sells official soccer jerseys; Portugalia, which sells authentic Portuguese paraphernalia and hard-to-find cooking utensils; C S Cork, which sells handbags and accessories made from cork; Brazilian clothing stores; and Portuguese jewelry stores that sell high-quality European gold and filigree, a jewelry style featuring thin gold wire woven into large, intricate patterns.

For fresh food items to take home, visitors can head to Seabras for authentic Portuguese food products, Teixeira’s Bakery for baked goods, Victor’s Fish Market for fresh fish flown in from Portugal every Thursday, Lope’s Sausage (which supplied the Clinton White House while he was president) and Lisbon Liquors, which sells fine wines made from indigenous Portuguese grapes as well as high-quality 100-year-old wines locked behind an iron gate in the back.

While wandering through the Ironbound, visitors should also stop by historic Saint Stephen’s Church, which made a cameo in the “War of the Worlds” 2005 remake, as well as the scenic Riverbank Park, where people can hop on a boat tour of the Passaic River.

Nuno Santos of the Basking Ridge section of Bernards, who moved from Portugal to New Jersey 22 years ago when he was 8, visits the Ironbound about once a month for authentic Portuguese fare or to pick up fresh fish, sausage, vegetables and pastries.

Portuguese newspapers can be seen throughout the Ironbound. Jenna Intersimone/Staff Photo

Portuguese newspapers can be seen throughout the Ironbound. Jenna Intersimone/Staff Photo

“I enjoy going to the Ironbound because it gives me the feel of the old country,” he said. “I can get fresh food that tastes like it has love baked into it, speak Portuguese with the locals and shop for Portuguese-brand foods at the markets. The area has the close-knit community vibe of going out to a café after dinner with your friends and neighbors and grabbing an espresso.”

It has been estimated that more than 40 ethnic groups live in the Ironbound. With about 50,000 total residents, about 35 percent of the Ironbound’s current population has Portuguese descent.

“We have seen anecdotally and factually that a lot of people have moved here with dreams of living in the city but found its cost prohibitive,” said Baglivo. “They are able to find affordable apartments in the Ironbound that are walking distance to transportation.”

Part of the reason that immigrants have flocked to the Ironbound is its position as a transportation hot spot, close to Newark Liberty International Airport, New Jersey Transit and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PATH).

Filigree is a popular style of Portuguese jewelry. ~Courtesy of Vince Baglivo

Filigree is a popular style of Portuguese jewelry. ~Courtesy of Vince Baglivo

“You can get anywhere in the world from the Ironbound,” said Grossman. “That’s why we are very connected to immigrants. The Ironbound delivers the American dream — there is a lot of work and the ability to connect to various markets.”

This trait also serves as the Ironbound’s namesake, known as such because it is surrounded by railroad tracks and is bordered by several major highways. Also, this helped the Ironbound escape some of the economic decline that the rest of Newark faced — highways went around it rather than through it.

Although the area has its share of problems, the Ironbound is one of Newark’s most vibrant neighborhoods and has consistently held the perception of being welcoming, clean and having relatively safe streets, bringing in visitors who otherwise wouldn’t travel to Newark.

“You can only develop Jersey City and Hoboken so far,” said Baglivo. “Newark is a blank canvas that is primed for redevelopment to happen. If the Ironbound can be the introduction for people to experience Newark, then that’s fantastic.”

Fresh fish are flown in every Thursday from Portugal. Jenna Intersimone/Staff Photo

Fresh fish are flown in every Thursday from Portugal. Jenna Intersimone/Staff Photo

WHERE TO EAT

WHERE TO SHOP

  • Pegasus Sporting Goods at 101 Ferry St.; 973-589-3510
  • Seabras Foods at 123 Ferry St.; 973-466-3560, seabras-marisqueira.com
  • Portugalia Sales at 109 Ferry St., 973-589-1416, portugalia.com
  • Lisbon Liquors at 114 Ferry St.; 973-344-0139, lisbonliquors.com
  • Teixeira’s Bakery at 186 Ferry St.; 973-344-4902
  • C S Cork at 67 Jefferson St.; 973-344-4423, cscork.com
  • Lope’s Sausage at 304 Walnut St.; 973-344-3063
  • Victor’s Fish Market at 109 Adams St.; 973-589-2384

WHERE TO VISIT

  • Saint Stephen’s Church at Ferry St. and Wilson Ave.
  • Riverbank Park at 27 Somme St.; 973-368-8737, riverbankpark.org
  • Red Bull Arena at 600 Cape May St., Harrison; 973-268-8420, newyorkredbulls.com
  • New Jersey Performing Arts Center at 1 Center St.; 973-642-8989, njpac.org
  • Prudential Center at 25 Lafayette St.; 973-757-6600, prucenter.com

Stay alive while driving in winter weather

Dawn Findlay Linzey’s story is all too common.

When she was 22, the resident of the Kenvil section of Roxbury decided to venture through a nasty January snowstorm to make it to work at her first full-time job. Driving down Route 10, she slowed at a stoplight but quickly realized she had hit black ice.

Linzey slammed on the brakes, but her car collided with the car in front of her while she was going 15 miles per hour. Luckily, she was safe, but her car lost both of its headlights, and the grille and radiator were punctured.

We can’t always avoid traveling in rough winter weather because of jobs, holidays and other functions, but there are plenty of things that we can do to keep safe when snow and ice are afoot.

1One of the most common mistakes that people make — when driving in the wintertime or anytime — is using their cellphones while driving.

“If you put using a cellphone into the mix with rough conditions, the results can be disastrous,” said Robert Gaydosh, north region supervisor of NJ Division of Highway Traffic Safety.

Sue Madden, public affairs specialist at AAA Mid-Atlantic, suggested that people who feel that they cannot ignore their phones turn them off completely because sometimes the urge to answer a ringing phone can be overbearing.

“Think about it this way: If you’re looking at your phone while driving, the person in the car next to you is probably looking at their phone, too,” she said.

2Another common mistake that winter drivers often make is not keeping enough distance between their car and the one in front of it, since extra room needs to be accounted for in case the car slides.

Gaydosh said that in poor weather, drivers should stay between eight to 10 seconds behind the car in front of them as well as keep their speed adjusted to the weather conditions by at or below the posted speed limit.

In order to keep other cars around them safe, drivers also need to be sure that they should completely clear their cars of snow or ice. What some offenders may not realize is that in New Jersey, there is a $75 fine for not clearing your car of snow and ice, and that fine can skyrocket to $200 to $1,000 if the snow or ice causes damage to another vehicle.

Gaydosh also suggests that people be mindful of plow trucks when driving through snow.


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“It used to amaze me what people would do, cutting people off and causing near accidents when the plow trucks were working. Keep in mind that these trucks can’t see who’s coming up behind or around them,” he said.

If you find yourself trapped in a storm that you deem unsafe to be driving in, you should turn your flashers on and remain with your vehicle so that help can find you. Madden said that stranded drivers should also call AAA and move their cars to a safe location.

“You don’t want to be hit by another driver,” said Madden. “Hang something out of your window so that there will be visibility and drivers or plow trucks can see you.”

In the event that you are caught in a storm, Gaydosh and Madden also recommend that drivers keep an ice scraper and brush, a small shovel, a flashlight, a bag of sand or cat litter for traction and water bottles and granola bars because you don’t know how long you will be stranded.

Sometimes, however, we must tackle winter weather when driving, and then things can go awry and we can lose control of our vehicles. Madden said that in this case, drivers should press lightly on their brakes, rather than pumping them, and Gaydosh said that drivers should steer their cars in their direction that the rear of the car is going.

“When I hit black ice and struck another vehicle, I panicked and hit the brakes, which didn’t help,” said Linzey. “There was nothing I could do to prevent the accident since the road looked clear, but now that I’m older, I realize I have a lot to lose and I won’t drive in weather like that.”