Slater Vecchio Blog

Winter Tire Laws in BC

In earlier posts we’ve provided some tips on seasonal car care to ensure safety on the roads in bad weather. Most recently, Kelley Stewart shared knowledge from her Saskatchewan upbringing about how to be prepared for winter driving conditions.

But what does the law actually say about winter driving in BC?

Signs posted on BC highways require that drivers are either using winter tires, or are carrying chains in the car with them. The law is in effect from October 1 to April 30 on all numbered highways in BC excluding the Lower Mainland.

CHBC News reports that an RCMP traffic expert is asking that the province change its laws governing winter road equipment.

And he makes a good point. Staff Sgt. Steve Frayne says it’s ridiculous that drivers are only required to carry chains in their cars. It means you can drive on bald tires of any type while chains waste trunk space and put lives at risk.

A fatal crash on Highway 1 near Rogers Pass is a recent example of poor tires on winter roads. The vehicle was driving on nearly bald winter tires with only 1.5 mm of tread. The minimum is 3.5 mm.

In another accident, a family of four was killed north of Kamloops when their SUV hit an icy road. They were riding on all-season tires.

Staff Sgt. Frayne is fighting to change the law in hopes of saving more lives. “Those signs have to mean something,” he says. “If you’re coming into the interior of this province, it’s some of the worst driving conditions in Canada. We have the highest highway passes in Canada and we don’t have a law that is effective.”

Until the law is changed, it’s up to you to be smart about your seasonal car care. Check your tire tread, invest in winter tires, or put on chains before hitting any icy, snowy winter roads.

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Nicole Kelly

Nicole joined Slater Vecchio in May 2010. Nicole has represented clients in both the Provincial and Supreme Court of British Columbia. She has been involved with personal injury files arisin...
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3 Responses to Winter Tire Laws in BC

  1. Steve Gunner says:

    I think making winter tires law in BC is such a cash grab! I agree that winter tires do work and people have all the right to buy them, but if you are a bad driver they make no difference. Put a person that can drive with all season tires against a person that can not drive with winter tires. Your winters tires are going into the ditch. Speed speed speed and road conditions are what cause accidents. PEOPLE NEED TO LEARN HOW TO DRIVE. If the roads are bad slow down, if they dry do the speed limit.
    Bald “snow tires” – snow – speed = problem. Do not blame the issue on winter tires….. Blame the driver for speeding and driving with bald tires on snow and ice!

  2. sara says:

    I was wondering if you could tell me if when you purchase snow tires if it is law for tire places only replacing all 4 tires.. yesterday I was told that I couldn’t put on 2 snow tires on my front wheel drive..and had to have 4

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