Winter Tires

When Do You Need Tire Chains or Winter Tires?

Silver Star Road from Tillicum Road to the Resort is posted as “USE WINTER TIRES OR CARRY CHAINS BEYOND THIS POINT OCTOBER 1 – APRIL 30.”

If you plan to travel British Columbia roadways when wintry conditions are a possibility, you should carry chains and be prepared to install them if needed. When you come to a posted sign on the highway stating “Winter Tires or Chains Are Required Beyond This Point”, you must be ready to install chains or have proper winter tread tires before proceeding.

Should you go beyond that point without the proper equipment, you may be subject to a fine. If road conditions worsen, be sure to install your chains before you reach an uphill grade.

Pay attention to whether approaching vehicles are using chains or having difficulty. If you have any doubts, chain up before proceeding.

When you encounter a sign or flashing amber lights with a message that indicates vehicles over a certain posted GVW must chain up, then carrying the chains is no longer sufficient. At this point tire chains MUST be installed. Failure to do so may result in a fine or other enforcement action.

Proceeding without the proper equipment installed could also cause you to lose control of your vehicle, endangering your own life and the lives of others.

Winter Tires

Transport Canada recommends the use of a winter tire that has been rated for severe snow conditions. These tires have a pictograph of a mountain peak with snowflakes on the side. In section 208 (1) of B.C.’s Motor Vehicle Act there is a more specific definition of “winter tire.”

Tires marked with the pictograph of a peaked mountain with a snowflake meet specific snow traction performance requirements, and have been designed specifically for use in severe snow conditions.

Tips for the road

Speed limits are for dry conditions. Keep in mind that it can take up to three times as long to stop on snow and ice than it does on dry pavement. Keep at least three times normal distance between you and the car in front.

  • Be extra cautious in the danger zones: intersections, lane changes, turns, stops.
  • In snow, tires barely grab the road, so accelerate, turn and stop gently.
  • Accelerate and brake on straight-aways where possible, gently in either case.
  • If ice and bare patches alternate, brake in the bare spots and coast over the ice. Apply that same rationale to bridges, which freeze before roadways, and try to reach “bridge speed” before you get there.
  • Use your lights on low beam and if you can’t see the edge of the road, use roadside reflectors to guide you.
  • When descending a hill, your maximum safe speed should be at the crest.
  • Four-wheel-drive owners: Even though your system is great for moving around in the snow, it doesn’t help you slow down! Word to the wise: slow down!
  • A word about snowplow drivers. They’re up when you’re asleep, work in conditions you avoid, and in some places, risk avalanches in order to clear your way to the slopes. So be kind, give the plow plenty of room, and keep your beams low. Above all, be like tortoise and practice patience.
For more information on tires and winter driving, we at Silver Star trust Kal Tire and Vernon Toyota to keep us safe throughout the winter.