RCMP urge drivers take precautions in rainy weather

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SYDNEY — RCMP are urging drivers across the province to exercise extreme caution over the next few days as the province is expected to be battered by high winds and substantial rainfall amounts.

RCMP spokesperson Sgt. Alain LeBlanc said with an increase of rain in the forecast over the next 24 hours, hydroplaning is expected to be problem along the provincial highway system.

He explained that hydroplaning occurs when a tire encounters more water than it can disperse. He said water pressure in front of the wheel pushes water under the tire which separates the tire from the road surface. The separation is caused by a film of water which results in a loss of traction which may also result in a loss of steering, braking and power control.

"If you find yourself hydroplaning remain calm. Do not brake or turn your wheel suddenly as this may cause your vehicle to skid," said LeBlanc, adding do not steer in any direction and slowly ease your foot off the gas.

LeBlanc also offered some tips to avoid hydroplaning including keeping tires properly inflated, rotate and replace tires when needed, reduce speed when roads are wet, try to drive in the tire tracks left in the water on the road from the vehicle in front, do not use cruise control, and avoid hard braking along with sharp and quick turns.

LeBlanc said regardless of the weather conditions, police are urging everyone to drive in a safe, responsible manner.

The inclement weather is the result of tropical depression Gabrielle which is expected to dump up to 70 millimetres of rain in parts of the Maritimes before moving off shore.

The Canadian Hurricane Centre reports that gusts could hit 70 kilometres per hour on the eastern mainland of Nova Scotia and Cape Breton later Friday, with winds reaching higher gusts forecast for Newfoundland on Saturday.

Rainfall warnings were in effect for parts of central and northeastern Nova Scotia, Queens and Kings counties in Prince Edward Island, and the Iles-de-la-Madeleine.

Forecasters say rain will begin falling in southern parts of Newfoundland late Friday and amounts could exceed the range of 30 to 40 millimetres through Saturday.

The strongest winds are expected along western Cape Breton, where winds are expected to peak at 90 km/h.

Organizations: RCMP, Canadian Hurricane Centre

Geographic location: Nova Scotia, Cape Breton, Newfoundland Kings Prince Edward Island

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