British Columbia

Winter tires in B.C.: What you need to know

Winter has arrived in many parts of B.C., along with dangerous driving conditions.

Proper tires required in many areas of province between October and April

Snow in Metro Vancouver on Dec. 5 wreaked havoc during the morning commute. (Jacy Schindel/CBC)

Winter has arrived in many parts of B.C., making the roads a challenge for drivers to navigate.

Here's what you need to know about getting your car ready for safe winter driving.

Where do I need them?

In B.C., passenger vehicles must have winter tires on almost all sections of highway between Oct. 1 and March 31, with the Lower Mainland and Greater Victoria as the exceptions — although proper tires are still recommended for those areas.

Commercial vehicles also have to carry chains on highway routes. Those travelling to B.C. from out-of-province are required to have winter tires as well.

Drivers who don't equip their vehicles properly can be fined up to $109. 

Which symbol should be on my tires?

The province accepts tires with the snowflake and mountain symbol, or the M+S symbol. The latter stands for mud and snow, and must also be displayed on all-season tires to be accepted as winter tires.

Tires safe for winter use will be marked with either a snowflake or a M+S symbol. (Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure)

All winter tires have to have at least 3.5. mm of tread left. 

What about four-wheel drive?

Four-wheel drive will give your car a better grip in slippery conditions, but won't help much when it comes to stopping or turning corners.

Driving slowly is key, no matter what kind of vehicle you have.

Drivers with four-wheel drive vehicles still need winter tires.

For motorcyclists

Motorcycles aren't required to have winter tires or chains, but the province recommends drivers use "common sense" when deciding whether or not to hit the road in the winter.

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