It’s a deadline that often sneaks up on drivers.
Come October 1st you’re reminded that BC’s winter tire rules come into effect. Northern Regional Director of the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, Scott Maxwell, says all roads in the north require the use of winter tires. “The choices that people make in terms of their driving behaviour, we find is extremely linked to how well prepared their vehicles are, so the more prepared you are out there, the more you’re going to be ready for whatever the weather throws your way.”
Hannah Rae works as a service advisor at Big O Tires. She can attest to how winter tires make driver more prepared for slicker conditions. “They have a certain composition that is designed to not stiffen as much as a summer tire would,” she said “When it gets to the below zero temperatures, they still stay soft enough so that you get the proper grip.”
Rae added that drivers should also regularly check their tire pressure as temperatures fluctuate, along with winterizing all components of their vehicle. “We usually check to make sure that all steering and suspension components are good, tires are in good functional conditions, brakes are good, check all the fluids, make sure your antifreeze is good to handle the climate up here.”
Not only do you need regulation winter or all-season tires with the mountain snowflake or mud and snow symbol, you also need to make sure your tire’s tread depth is a minimum of 3.5 millimetres. Not having the right tires on designated routes sets you back 121 dollars, while the wrong tread depth results in a 109 dollar penalty.
With the deadline looming to get tires changed over, Maxwell says it might not be a bad idea to get ahead of the game. “We definitely recommend getting ready a little bit earlier if you can and just being ready to go, we’re below temperatures now where we don’t think you’d be doing much damage to your winter tires if you had them on a little early, so we definitely recommend the earlier the better.”