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February 21, 2015

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. 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 reported that an RCMP traffic expert was 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 in 2012 is an 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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