Winter Tires: What You Need to Know

Driving in the lower mainland during winter months can be stressful for those who do not have experience driving in snowy and icy conditions. With a generally temperate climate, it is rare for drivers in the greater Vancouver area to experience heavy snowfall all winter long like in the prairies or eastern Canada. That being said, the importance of having proper tires on your vehicle to match winter conditions may help drivers feel safer on roads and help drivers have a safer driving experience during winter months.

Police Can Pull You Over If They Suspect You Do Not Have Winter Tires

According to BC law, drivers must have winter tires with a 3-peak mountain and snowflake symbol or M+S (Mud and Snow) symbol located on the tire sidewall. Failing to have proper tires between Oct 1st – March 31st can result in a $109 fine and can alter how much you’re considered at fault if you’re in an accident according to I.C.B.C.

Did You Know:
At 0°c, snow and ice become slippery
Between +4°c to –4°c, black ice forms

Identifying Winter Tires

There are a couple of options available to you depending on your needs:

Mud & Snow (M+S) Tires

The all-season Mud and Snow (M+S) winter tires are a safe option if you seldom drive in winter conditions. ICBC recognizes Mud and Snow winter tires as legal requirements between Oct 1-March 31st as long as they have a minimum 3.5 mm tread depth. It’s important to note, however, that these tires are safe for most conditions, but are not
designed to grip ice or suitable for sub-zero weather conditions.

How to Identify Mud & Snow (M+S) Tires:

  • M+S located on the sidewall of the tire
  • Perform best in milder or slightly wet conditions

Mountain/Snowflake Tires

Considered to be the safest winter tire available, this is your best option if you are living in an area where you expect more severe snow, ice and slush on a regular basis.

Mountain/Snowflake tires offer the best traction and performance during winter months.

How to identify Mountain/Snowflake Tires:

  • The three peak Mountain/Snowflake symbol located on the sidewall of the tire

Tire Performance & Safety

  • Install all four winter tires at the same time to help maintain control and stability of your vehicle.
  • Do not mix tires with different construction, tread patterns and or sizes.
  • Tires with worn tread have reduced traction and less effective in snow and severe road conditions. Ensure your vehicle’s winter tires are not worn down to the tread wear indicators.
  • Keeping tires inflated with the proper tire pressure not only prolongs the life of your tires but also increases safety. Check your vehicle’s tire pressure at least once a month, as tire pressure decreases as temperature levels drop.

Storing Your Winter Tires

  • Ensure your winter tires last as long as possible by storing them in a cool, dark and dry place.

Hurt In An Accident? Tim Louis Law Can Help

Tim Louis and his compassionate and talented legal team can give you the solid, trusted advice you need and can deal with ICBC on your behalf. If you or your loved one has been injured in a motor vehicle accident in Metro Vancouver and would like to consult with our legal team who will do everything they possibly can to get you the personal
injury settlement you deserve, contact us today for a free consultation at 604-732-7678 or email