Use Winter Tread Tires or Carry Chains

Winter Tire Regulatory SignThe province of British Columbia has not yet mandated that true winter tread tires be used during the winter months on all highways. However, one can only legally operate in the ice and snow using all season or summer tires if they are not traveling on posted highways or are carrying tire chains that are the appropriate size and type for the vehicle. This does restrict the use of all season tires in most areas of the province.

A posted highway is one that is marked with a sign advising motorists that they must use winter tread tires or carry chains once they have passed the sign. Winter Tire SymbolFor the purposes of the sign, a winter tire is one that is advertised or represented by its manufacturer or a person in the business of selling tires to be a tire intended principally for winter use.

An all season tire is designed to be a compromise and operate in both summer and winter. It is not designed principally for winter use. Only those tires displaying the mountain and snowflake symbol on the sidewall are winter tires that fit this definition.

Should you choose not to follow the advice on the sign, police may prevent you from traveling further until you are in compliance. They may also choose to issue a traffic ticket that carries a penalty of $121 and 2 points, or about the price of a good winter tire or set of chains.

Reference Links:

Obeying Traffic Controls - Section 125 Motor Vehicle Act
Safety Equipment - Section 208 Motor Vehicle Act
Winter Tires - Transport Canada Web Site
Winter Tires Matter - The Rubber Association of Canada
Seasonal Driving Tips - Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure

Comments

Submitted by E-mail

I have read your statement in the paper and on line on "Winter Tread Tires or Carry Chains". I have M&S (Mud and Snow) tires on both of our car/truck and both are 4WD. So is a M&S tire classified as a winter tire? neither has the mountain/snowflake symbol just "M&S" on the tire.

M&S

Section 208 in the past did define a winter tire as having the marks "mud and snow" or "M&S" on the sidewall. Today it merely states "a tire intended principally for winter use, and that provides, or is designed to provide, adequate traction in snow or mud;" We know that all season tires are a compromise and are not intended principally for winter use, consequently they do not fit this definition. A tire designed principally for winter use today carries the mountain and snowflake symbol. I did a bit more research on the topic and found an article by the Automobile Protection Association. They are a non-profit association dedicated to promoting consumer interests in the marketplace. The article says that the M&S or Mud and Snow markings only mean that "the tire has wider than normal gaps between the treads than a summer tire. As there is no industry standard to define what M+S means, the level of traction in winter conditions is variable." It goes on to say "All winter tires offered in Canada bear this symbol that denotes approval of the Canadian Rubber Association (CRA). In principle, it guaranties that the tire conforms to specific performance requirements regarding grip in snow, and that the tire is specifically designed for driving in snowy conditions. The standard does not currently include a test for grip on ice. Until recently, the snowflake on a mountain symbol was a reliable indicator of with winter performance of a tire. However, BF Goodrich, Goodyear, Michelin and Nokian now offer tires bearing the aforementioned symbol, which have tread patterns more typical of an all-season tire and are approved for year-round use. These all-season tires are not true winter tires."

Winter Tire Advisory and Regulatory Sign Examples

What is your recommendation

and use of snow tires vs chains vs cable chains? In other words, which are better and under which conditions?  Personally, I think cable chains are great when it snows and on ice, chains I am not familiar with but I typically see large trucks or busses use them, albeit non effectively. They still have difficulty going up a snowy hill.

 

Tires

I have an all wheel drive suv with new all season tires and wish to know which highways are posted with winter tires as I am planning a trip to Edmonton from Van. Is. for Xmas.

Posted Routes

I am guessing that you can't get there without traveling on a posted highway, but you may be able to get that answer from the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.

Don't get me started.....

ICBC and the Ministry are simple well....

The attitude of ICBC is that we do not need to winter tires at all in the lower mainland, even travelling up to Whistler is fine with summer tires.  Of course, all this depends whether or not you get into an accident and the peace office at the scene feels your lack of having winter tires contributed in any way to the accident.

As always, the governments (both provincial, federal, and city) along with out stellar crown corporation insurance company tend to always take a reactive instead of proactive position in all safety and public interest matters.

Just pose the question on social media sites, asking if we should install snow tires in Metro Vancouver. You will see what they're response is: NO.

Contributory Negligence

The police are not the only ones that make decisions based on the lack of winter tires when there is a need for them. The courts can find that a driver is negligent for not using winter tires post collision as well.

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