As of Friday, Oct. 1, 2021, winter tires are mandatory for all vehicles on most British Columbia highways to increase travel safety until spring.
Winter tires are required for travel on:
- all highways in the North;
- all highways in the Interior;
- sections of some highways on the South Coast, including the Sea to Sky Highway; and
- sections of some highways on Vancouver Island, including the Malahat and highways 4, 14 and 28.
In B.C., appropriate winter tires are defined as those with either the M+S (mud and snow) or mountain/snowflake symbol, in good condition with a minimum tread depth of 3.5 millimetres.
Tires marked with a mountain/snowflake symbol on the sidewall offer the best traction on snow and ice and in cold weather. Tires marked with M+S offer better traction than summer tires, but are less effective than mountain/snowflake tires in severe winter conditions. Drivers are encouraged to choose their tires based on the region and conditions in which they regularly drive.
While winter tires are not mandatory provincewide, they are required on a majority of B.C. highways. Drivers without the proper winter tires in good condition driving on designated B.C. highways can receive a fine of $121.
Rain, slush, snow, ice and cold temperatures are all part of winter driving. The improved traction offered by winter tires can make the difference between safely driving on winter roads and being involved in a potentially serious motor vehicle incident.
When setting out, drivers are reminded to slow down and use caution. To plan ahead, check: DriveBC.ca
Also starting Oct. 1, 2021, commercial vehicle operators are required to carry chains on most routes in B.C., as indicated by roadside signs. Chains are not required on the Lower Mainland and most of Vancouver Island.
Winter tires and chain requirements are in effect on most designated highways in B.C. from Oct. 1 to March 31. For select highways, including mountain passes and rural routes in high snowfall areas, the date is extended until April 30 to account for early spring snowfall. These highways are marked with regulatory signs.