It’s October — and that means winter tires for B.C.’s winter highways.

As of Oct. 1, motorists travelling on most provincial highways are required to equip their vehicles with appropriate winter tires.

In B.C., an appropriate winter tire is defined as one with either the M+S or mountain/snowflake symbol and in good condition with a minimum tread depth of 3.5 millimetres.

Drivers are encouraged to choose their tires based on the region and conditions in which they regularly drive.

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 (mud and snow) offer better traction than summer tires but are less effective than mountain/snowflake tires in severe winter conditions.

Winter Tire and Chain Map

While winter tires are not mandatory provincewide, they are required on a majority of B.C. highways — including Hwy. 97 and Hwy. 3 in the South Okanagan.

Winter tire regulations end on March 31 on many highways, however, the regulations have been extended to April 30 on select mountain passes and rural highways, to account for early spring snowfall.

That includes Hwy. 3 between Osoyoos and Cranbrook and beyond. It also includes Hwy. 3 between Princeton and Hope.

Drivers without the proper winter tires in good condition driving on designated B.C. highways can receive a fine of $109.

Rain, slush, snow, ice and cold temperatures are all part of winter driving. The improved traction offered by winter tires may be the difference between safely driving on winter roads and being involved in a potentially serious motor vehicle incident.

Drivers are reminded to slow down, use caution and check DriveBC.ca to plan ahead when setting out during the winter months.

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