B.C. winter tire rules take effect Saturday

Locally, the “Shift into Winter” message appears to gaining speed.

Phone lines are heating up at OK Tire with drivers preparing to switch out summers for winters. Tire Technician Blair Murray had a heavy work load this week as winter tire rules in B.C. take effect on Saturday.

Locally, the Shift into Winter message appears to gaining speed.

Rocky Dickson from OK Tire says the last few years people have started to get ahead of the game by switching out summer for winter tires well before the first flakes start to fall.

“Definitely, that’s what we have found, he said. “Even right now we are quite busy with everyone preparing for when the snow flies.”

With winter just around the corner, the ministry is reminding drivers that B.C.’s winter tire rules come into effect on Saturday.

“Shift into Winter” means drivers are required to equip their vehicles with winter tires if they plan to travel on certain highways in the Interior as well as the North, South Coast and Vancouver Island.

Winter tires improve driving safety by providing better traction in snow, slush and icy conditions. Drivers are also reminded to check tire air pressure frequently, as it decreases in cold weather.

Dickson adds to the message by advising drivers that winter tires can be an investment in road safety.

“Even before getting the tires on, (consider) paying a little bit extra to get better quality, especially if you are a young driver,” he added. “It’s $200 extra to get top end, and well worth it in the long run.”

In British Columbia, winter tires are defined as those labelled with either the Mountain Snowflake symbol or the Mud and Snow (M+S) symbol.

Winter tires must be in good condition with a minimum tread depth of 3.5 millimetres, and must be used on designated highways Oct. 1 to March 31.

Signs are posted to identify those highways where winter tires are required for lighter cars and trucks, and chains are required for heavy commercial trucks. These routes are generally located approaching high mountain passes and highways which see significant winter conditions and where conditions can change from rain to snow very quickly.

Since more than 60 per cent of B.C. motorists drive in parts of the province where snow conditions are not common, the ministry is not considering requiring all drivers to equip their vehicles with winter tires it’s only for motorists travelling on the designated routes.

Drivers planning to travel through these designated routes are encouraged to “know before you go” and check DriveBC.ca for the latest for latest highway conditions, highway cams, route forecasts and delay information.

Drivers who don’t have the proper winter tires on their vehicle on the designated routes can receive a fine of $121.

Drivers who don’t have the minimum tread depth on their tires (3.5mm) on the designated routes can receive a fine of $109.

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