Winter Tire and Chain Signs in BC

Have you noticed any winter tire and chain signs when you were driving recently? These signs are scattered across BC and drivers must obey them from October 1 to March 31.

You are not required to use winter tires in the Lower Mainland and southeastern Vancouver Island as the weather is milder. However, you will notice that winter tires are mandatory in many places outside these areas. For example, if you plan a ski trip to Whistler this year, be sure your vehicle complies with the requirements set by the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure for British Columbia. You will see one of these winter tire and chain signs on the Sea to Sky Highway and many other BC highways and mountain passes.

If you are wondering where these locations are, the Government of BC has mapped out the highways in which winter tires are required. Please take a minute to review these maps for the Northern, Southern, Interior, and South Coast regions of BC. Note that you can start a trip in perfect sunny weather but end up in heavy snowfall, ice, and slush at a later time or in a different area.

Be aware that the BC RCMP can give out tickets and fines for vehicles that do not obey the signs. Winter tires must meet the minimum requirements of having the M+S (mud and snow) designation or marked with the three-peaked mountain and snowflake symbol. They must have the minimum tread depth of 3.5mm. Additionally, they must be in good condition. It is better to be well-prepared and have up-to-standard winter tires not only to avoid possible fines, but more importantly to prevent accidents and injuries. All motorists on the road should share this responsibility in taking the step to prevent accidents caused by winter road conditions.

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