Even though it’s officially spring, winter tires or chains are still required on designated highways through to March 31. For highways located through mountain passes and/or high snowfall areas, the requirements extend until April 30.

“As spring arrives we naturally start to think about how much longer we need to use winter tires. The answer is based on safety, not the season,” says Trace Acres, spokesperson for the Shift into Winter campaign.

Winter tires provide better traction and stopping performance when temperatures drop below 7 degrees celsius, and on wet, snowy, or icy roads. All-season and summer tires are less effective in colder weather. 

“The difference in traction can be the difference between you reaching your destination safely or you and your passengers being in a serious crash,” Acres says.

Vehicles generally take longer to stop when roads are slippery so reducing speed is essential. 

“We need to be thinking how to get to our destination safely instead of getting there quickly. You can never be sure how your vehicle or other drivers will react in wet or icy conditions.”

Drivers also need to keep tires properly inflated, according to a release from Road Safety at Work. Air pressure decreases in cold weather, which can affect braking distance, steering, and handling. Shift into Winter recommends checking air pressure at least every month.

Highways requiring winter tires or chains are marked with signs and listed online and at www.DriveBC.ca

Some BC roads don’t require winter tires. In those cases, winter tires are still best for safety when temperatures regularly fall below 7 celsius.

Avoid driving when road and weather conditions are poor, if possible, and prepare yourself by knowing how to drive for the conditions before getting behind the wheel. 

Hundreds of thousands of BC residents drive as part of their job, either full time, part time or only occasionally, says the release. For them, additional tips include following your organization’s safe winter driving procedures, reporting any unsafe conditions to your supervisor, along with carrying chains and knowing when and how to use them if you drive a commercial vehicle.

“Safety at work is always my number one priority and everyone has the right to return home safe at the end of the day,” says Harry Bains, the province’s minister of labour. 

“While driving in winter conditions can be dangerous, I encourage all drivers to make use of the Shift into Winter guides to learn about winter tire regulations in B.C., and to stay safe on wet, snowy, or icy roads.”

Shift into Winter is a joint provincial initiative supported by the Winter Driving Safety Alliance and managed by Road Safety at Work. For more information, visit their website at www.shiftintowinter.ca.