Police are warning drivers to be aware of branches from trees during high winds after several incidents in the Chemainus area April 25. (File photo by Don Bodger)

Numerous incidents during high winds prompt police to make safe driving recommendations

Incidents in the Chemainus area particularly dangerous on April 25

North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP are urging drivers to take extra caution during high winds and rainy weather following numerous calls of hazards on the Trans Canada Highway in the Chemainus area on Saturday, April 25.

During one of the calls, high winds resulted in a branch blowing off a tree and partially shattering the windshield of a passing vehicle.

People in the damaged vehicle fortunately only sustained minor injuries. The driver pulled over safely to prevent issues with other cars on the road.

RCMP warn driving in less-than-ideal conditions like heavy rain or wind can pose significant safety risks and require extra attention to detail.

Some of the recommendations police are making for safe driving in winds and rain include:

* maintaining a safe distance from other vehicles on the road.

* turning on headlights to ensure you can see and be seen.

* driving smoothly by being gentle on the gas and breaks, and avoiding sudden turns or lane changes.

* avoiding the use of cruise control to maintain full control of the vehicle and focusing on the road.

* don’t hesitate to take a break by pulling into a rest stop or on the shoulder if uncomfortable continuing in difficult conditions.

And it goes without saying, police added, that alcohol, marijuana, other drugs or cell phones should never be put into the mix with driving, regardless of the weather conditions.

“Sometimes it is difficult to anticipate traffic hazards,” noted Corp. Jean Gelderblom of North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP’s Traffic and Community Engagement unit. “We encourage all drivers to leave appropriate space between themselves and other vehicles on the road and to slow down when conditions aren’t ideal. Prevention is always better than dealing with negative outcomes.”

Drivers or passengers who see safety issues on roads and highways can contact North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP or 911 in the event of an emergency.

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