As cooler temperatures make their way through the Okanagan announcing the imminence of Winter, drivers in the region have until Sunday to get their winter tires on.

As of Oct. 1, 2023, it will be mandatory to have snow tires or chains on to travel throughout most B.C. highways up until Apr. 30, 2024, for most highways or Mar. 31, 2024, for those highways that do not go through mountains or high snowfall areas.

Signs on highways will indicate where winter tires are mandated and what type of tires or chains are required for different types of drivers. Anyone without the proper tires or chains should not drive past those signs.

Aside from the obvious hazard it represents, drivers who do not have the proper tires are at risk of up to $598 in fines.

According to the B.C. Ministry of Transportation, the appropriate winter tires must have the “M and S” mud and snow logo on them while those with the "three-peak mountain/snowflake" logo are recommended for better traction in winter conditions.

Tires must all match in tread type, size, and depth and should all have a minimum of 3.5 mm of tread remaining.

Studs, which can also prove useful for winter driving, are only allowed from Oct. 1, 2023 to Apr. 30, 2023 on BC highways.

Weather forecasts are already showing sub-zero temperatures in towns across the Thompson-Okanagan, and with Environment Canada already forecasting snow on the Connector it is best to be ready for winter and get those winter tires on.

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