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Posted: September 24, 2022

Winter tires are a smart safety investment

Winter tires are an investment in safety — for you, your family and friends, and others sharing the road. They’re also required by law on many highways in B.C. as of October 1.

Winter tires provide better traction and stopping performance than summer tires in cold temperatures and on wet, snowy, and icy roads. Traction may be the difference between safely driving on winter roads in the East Kootenay and being involved in a serious crash.

Winter tires or chains are required on many B.C. highways from October 1 to March 31. For select highways, including mountain passes and rural routes in high snowfall areas, the date extends through April 30. Drivers need to obey road signs listing the requirements. Visit for more information on the regulations.

Legal winter tires

A winter tire must be in good condition, with a minimum tread depth of 3.5 mm (5/32 inches).

The three-peaked mountain/snowflake and all-season Mud and Snow (M+S) tires both meet the legal requirements for winter tires in B.C.

Winter tires with a 3-peaked mountain and snowflake symbol provide good winter driving performance, especially in harsh winter conditions. They outperform Mud and Snow tires at 7C or lower. Their natural rubber compound helps them stay soft and flexible in colder temperatures.

Chains on summer tires are not an acceptable substitute on B.C. highways requiring winter tires.

Some other tips to give you better traction while driving:

  • Make sure tires match

All four tires need to match in size, tread type, and depth. You need at least two matching winter tires on the primary drive axle, even for a 4X4 vehicle. Using different types of tires compromises stability and could cause your vehicle to fishtail.

  • Check tire wear and pressure

Always check the wear of your winter tires before installing them. Are they in good shape and with enough tread? Monitor tire pressure often as it can drop in cold weather.

  • Carry chains or other traction devices

Passenger vehicles may be required to use chains or other traction devices with winter tires. Know and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for putting them on properly.

Shift into Winter is supported by the Winter Driving Safety Alliance, which reminds drivers to prepare themselves and their vehicle now for changing road and weather conditions.

e-KNOW file photo


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