KAMLOOPS - Winter weather is just around the corner, and drivers need to be prepared for snowy and icy conditions.
Motorists are required to have winter tires or carry suitable chains from Oct. 1 to April 30 while travelling on highways designated with winter travel signs.
The best way to prepare is to equip your vehicle with good winter tires, identified with a mountain snowflake symbol that appears on the tire sidewalls.
While winter tires are not mandatory provincewide in B.C., there are many routes that regularly experience severe winter conditions. On these routes, winter tires or chains are mandatory and signs are posted to warn drivers. A map of the designated highways where motorists must have winter tires or chains can be found at: www.th.gov.bc.ca/SeasonalDriving/winter_chains.html
There have been many improvements in tire technology in recent years, resulting in some confusion around what is a "winter tire". Many winter tires have the mountain snowflake symbol, while many others bear the designation M+S meaning traction in mud and snow. In light of changing technology, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure will review the existing definition of winter tires and chains as part of the highway speed and safety review that is underway.
While this review is ongoing, the police will continue with past practice of allowing either tires with a mountain snowflake symbol or an M+S designation on highways where winter tires are required, as long as they are in good condition with a minimum tread depth of 3.5 mm. In severe winter weather, police officers will turn vehicles around if they feel the tires are unsafe for the conditions and may be putting the driver or others at risk.
As more than 60 per cent of all B.C. motorists drive in parts of the province where snow conditions are not common, the ministry is not considering requiring all drivers to equip their vehicles with winter tires.
When planning a trip, drivers can check webcams to find out the weather and road conditions for their route at: www.drivebc.ca
Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Todd Stone -
"We encourage drivers who are planning to drive on routes requiring winter tires this season to choose the best tires possible, and to ensure their tires are in good condition. Tires with the mountain snowflake symbol, which are specifically designed to meet cold weather performance standards, are the best choice for safe travel in winter conditions. These are the tires that I use on my vehicle for safe winter driving."
Chief Constable Jamie Graham, chair of the Traffic Safety Committee of the British Columbia Association of Chiefs of Police -
"Drivers need to remember that parts of our province are already experiencing winter conditions. When your vehicle is not properly equipped for the conditions, you are putting yourself and others at risk. Enforcement action could be taken and you could be forced to turn back if you don't have acceptable winter tires or chains on highways where they are required. Drivers are strongly encouraged to use common sense when operating in less than ideal conditions."
John Dickinson, ICBC's director of road safety -
"While it is vital to prepare your vehicle for winter driving conditions, it is only one part of staying safe. Drivers need to adjust their driving behaviour for the road conditions they encounter. In poor weather, slow down, increase your following distance and give yourself plenty of time to get to your destination."
Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure