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Plan on driving through B.C.? It's time to put on your winter tires

The province requires passenger vehicles have their winter tires on between Oct. 1 and Apr. 30 on most highways. That includes the Atlin Road, Stewart Cassiar Highway and Alaska Highway

Drivers without winter tires can face a fine of $109 or have their travel plans disrupted

Winter tires — sometimes called alpine or snow tires — are marked with a symbol of a snowflake inside a three-peaked mountain placed on the sidewall of the tire. (David Donnelly/CBC)

People driving to or through British Columbia should now have winter tires on their vehicle — it's the law. 

The province requires passenger vehicles be equipped with winter tires between Oct. 1 and Apr. 30 on most highways. That includes the Atlin Road, Stewart Cassiar Highway and Alaska Highway.

Winter tires are important this time of year, even if there isn't snow on the road, explained Scott Maxwell, an official with B.C.'s Transportation Ministry. 

"Many times you're driving down a highway and it could be sunny and warm and then you have a shaded corner and that could be a slipper spot," he said. 

"You can have black ice, you can have icy conditions." 

Drivers without winter tires can face a fine of $109, or have their travel plans disrupted. 

"You can actually be turned back at a highway junction and sent back to where you were coming from or somewhere more safe and appropriate," said Maxwell. 

A map produced by the province does not indicate that the B.C-sections of the South Klondike Highway or Haines Road are part of the requirement. Maxwell said although those roads pass through the province, enforcement may be more difficult there. 

Winter tires are required on most highways in B.C. between Oct. 1 and Apr. 30 (B.C. Ministry of Transportation)

Look for the snowflake or M+S

Winter tires — sometimes called alpine or snow tires — are marked with a symbol of a snowflake inside a three-peaked mountain placed on the sidewall of the tire.

Mud and snow tires, marked with an M+S symbol, also qualify as winter tires, though the province notes they are less effective than dedicated alpine snow tires.

The Ministry of Transportation requires winter tires to have at least 3.5 millimetres of tread remaining. It requires at least two matching winter tires on the vehicle's drive axle, but recommends a matching set on all wheels.

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