Drivers must obey winter tire and chain signs throughout the province from October 1 to March 31.
Winter road conditions across most of B.C. often include snow and ice. We recommend drivers install mountain/snowflake tires for cold weather driving and, for extreme conditions, carry chains.
It is the responsibility for the operator of a vehicle to understand the conditions on the roads they regularly drive and equip their vehicle for those conditions.
British Columbia accepts tires displaying the 3-peaked mountain and snowflake symbol OR the M+S (mud and snow) symbol, with at least 3.5 mm tread as winter tires. Some tire manufacturers choose to mark their tires with both designations.
Check your tires for at least one of these symbols:
|The 3-peaked mountain and snowflake symbol on the side of the tire
These winter tires offer the best traction on snow and ice, and in cold weather.Also known as mountain/snowflake or alpine.
|The mud and snow symbol on the side of the tire
These winter tires offer better traction than summer tires, however, they are less effective than 3-peaked mountain and snowflake tires on snow and ice, and in cold weather.MS, M&S, Mud and Snow symbol tires are the legal requirement. This includes All Seasons if they have the symbol on them. We do however recommend the snowflake symbol for winter conditions.
All winter tires must have:
Tires must have 3.5 mm of tread remaining to be considered winter tires. Tires that are worn have reduced traction and should not be used in winter weather.
|Matching winter tires
You must have at least 2 matching winter tires on the primary drive axle, but we recommend using 4 matching tires on the four outside corners of the vehicle – even when driving a 4X4 vehicle. Mixing tires with different tread patterns, internal construction and size compromises stability, and should be avoided
- Read the legislation about winter tires
- Read the regulations about winter tires
- Read the regulations about tire condition
- Read the regulations about restrictions on tires
For additional safety and traction:
Maintaining proper air pressure extends tread life and improves safety. Tire pressure decreases as temperatures drop, so have the pressure checked at least once a month, when the tires are cold.
Drivers may wish to enhance the traction of their winter tires by carrying chains or using other traction devices. Summer tires are NOT recommended for winter driving October 1 to March 31. Chains on summer tires are not an acceptable substitute for winter tires on signed highways.
Due to a more temperate winter climate in the Lower Mainland and southeastern Vancouver Island, drivers are not required to use winter tires, although many drivers choose to use M+S tires year-round. Drivers should use discretion when equipping their vehicles.
Remember: If you plan to travel outside the Lower Mainland and southeastern Vancouver Island, winter tires are required on most highways.