Central Vancouver Island Traffic Services NCO Cpl. Mike Elston checks a southbound vehicle along Inland Highway Tuesday morning as part of an annual winter preparedness road safety check.

RCMP provide education, and some tickets, during road checks ahead of the winter season

The checks this week were dedicated to winter preparedness

Winter is on its way.

And to make sure drivers are prepared, police set up a road check along Inland Highway off Horne Lake Road Tuesday checking hundreds of southbound vehicles.

By 8:40 a.m. Central Vancouver Island Traffic Services NCO Cpl. Mike Elston said Mounties had already stopped one impaired driver who was issued an Immediate Roadside Prohibition (IRP) for 90 days and their vehicle was impounded for 30 days.

Meanwhile, Elston said police found “several people driving without licences and at least one tow truck operating without insurance.”

But the police check was dedicated to winter preparedness.

Elston said police were specifically looking at drivers’ lights, windshields and tires.

“A lot of today is about education,” he said. “We aren’t giving out tickets for every headlight that’s out.”

Approximately 350 vehicles were checked with 107 tickets or orders to fix items being issued from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.  Half of all documents issued by officers were in the form of a Notice and Order which simply compels a driver or owner to get things fixed on the vehicle.

Elston said it’s especially important to have your vehicle ready for winter on Vancouver Island because the weather conditions can change dramatically driving from just Nanaimo to Campbell River.

“On days that aren’t like this you really need to think about it (winter preparedness),” said Elston, under a blue sky.

“The last thing an officer wants to do is meet someone after they’ve been involved in a collision because they could not see or be seen due to poor lighting or perhaps after they’ve gone off the road in rain, snow or ice due to poor tires.  Please, take two minutes, walk around your vehicle and ensure everything is working as it should.”

ICBC road safety coordinator Caroline Robinson was also on hand Tuesday giving out tire gauges and ice scrappers, which Elston quipped “work better than credit cards.”

Robinson encourages drivers to get their vehicles checked by a professional before winter weather hits Parksville Qualicum Beach.

“A lot of drivers don’t know the difference between all-season and winter tires,” she said. “Winter tires are softer and as the temperature drops they adhere to the road surface better.”

She said drivers need to think about where they’re driving and what they’ll need.

“Check your wiper blades, fluids in your vehicle and make sure you have a full tank of gas.”

Robinson reminds people to stay updated with Drive B.C. on the current and long range weather forecast.

Members of Central Vancouver Island Traffic Services RCMP were joined by the Oceanside RCMP, Nanaimo Integrated Road Safety Unit, 2 RCMP Impaired Driving coordinators, Commercial Vehicle Safety & Enforcement inspectors, Natural Resources officers. ICBC, Emcon Highway Services and the Officer in Charge of Island District Traffic Services (RCMP) to remind drivers that it is the time of year to ensure that their vehicles are ready for winter.

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