Winter is coming: Snow tires on B.C. Interior mountain passes required Oct. 1

Image Credit: FILE PHOTO

THOMPSON-OKANAGAN - Cooler temperatures and leaves changing colour signal the beginning of fall, and not so far off, the start of winter driving season.

On mountain pass highways like the Coquihalla and Okanagan Connector, winter tires are required from Oct. 1 to March 31, according to a B.C. Government media release. Signs identifying highways that require winter tires and chains are in place across the province.

"Drivers who travel on high mountain passes and designated routes where weather can suddenly change need to make sure their vehicles are winter ready," Minister of Transportation Todd Stone says in the release. "We want to be certain drivers are prepared for unpredictable and changing driving conditions. Make sure you are using winter tires that are in good condition, with solid treads, and adjusting your speed to match road and weather conditions."

Winter tires are labelled with either the mountain snowflake symbol or the mud and snow (m+s) symbol, and the tires must be in good condition with a minimum tread depth of 3.5 mm, the province says.

Failing to obey the rules could cost you. Drivers without proper tires travelling on designated roads can be fined $121. Drivers who don't have the proper amount of tread on their tires can be fined $109.

Commercial vehicles that are 27,000 kg or more in gross volume weight are required to carry chains on designated routes and the province recommends these heavy vehicles carry chains at all times.

Drive B.C. offers a "know before you go" online service that keeps current updates on highway conditions, highway cams, route forecasts and any delay information.

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