What You Need to Know about Winter Tires
The cold weather is here and winter tires are required on many highways and the mountain passes of BC.
Not only are good winter tires essential for your safety, they are the law on many routes from October 1st to March 31st.
Do you have the right tires?
Only three provinces in Canada, including BC, define what a winter tire is and specify where they need to be used. There is clear signage on routes where winter tires are mandatory and you can also see a complete list of these roads and highways at www.gov.bc.ca/wintertires. The list includes heavily traveled popular BC Interior routes like the highway 97C connector, highway 1 to Alberta and the Coquihalla (highway 5).
While there are many roads where winter tires are not mandatory, we recommend that all drivers switch to these tires for cold weather driving. The right tires can keep you and your family safe during the winter months. Conditions can change rapidly, black ice can appear on any road and you don’t want to be caught without the proper tires.
It is important to note that, contrary to some myths, driving without winter tires will not void your ICBC insurance if you have a claim and it won’t mean you are automatically at fault in a collision, however if you are in an accident where winter tires could have helped it may affect whether you are at fault. Play it safe this winter and get the right tires!
What are Winter Tires?
Winter tires are specifically defined in BC. In order to qualify as a winter tire your tires must:
- Have at least 3.5mm of tread remaining. Do not drive on tires that are worn as this will reduce their traction;
- Be matching. The regulations state that you must have at least 2 matching winter tires on your primary driving axle. We recommend having four matching tires for optimal safety;
- Your tires must display one of these symbols:
The 3-peaked mountain and snowflake symbol on the side of the tire
These winter tires offer the best traction on snow and ice, and in cold weather. Also known as mountain/snowflake or alpine.