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Don't take winter tires off just yet, B.C. highways still require them

Some mountainous highways in B.C. require winter tires until April 30.
Winter tires are mandatory on most B.C. highways from Oct. 1 to March 31.

Just because temperatures are rising and the sun is out, doesn’t mean winter tires aren’t required in British Columbia. 

B.C. law requires drivers to have winter tires or chains on provincial highways till March 31. Some mountainous highways require them until April 30. 

Trace Acres is the program director for Road Safety at Work and says tires are about safety, not the season.

"Rain and cold nights are going to be with us for a while yet. Winter tires give you better traction and braking on wet roads when temperatures drop below 7 C,” says Acres. 

According to Road Safety at Work, which manages the Shift into Winter campaign to help employers improve the safety of people who drive for work, hundreds of thousands of British Columbians drive as part of their job. 

"Whether you’re driving for pleasure or for work, you want the best traction possible to help reduce the risk of crashing and seriously injuring yourself or your passengers,” says Acres.

Work-related crashes are the leading cause of traumatic workplace death in B.C., according to the Winter Driving Safety Alliance. 

B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains is asking everyone to drive safely. 

“Roads are one of the most dangerous places to work. No matter what time of the year it is, for everyone’s sake, please drive safely and always be prepared for poor road conditions,” says Bains. 

The Lower Mainland could see a "widespread sunny warm spread" this weekend. The warm weather will unofficially kick off spring with temperatures soaring multiple degrees and above seasonal averages. 

Temperatures in the mid to late teens are expected to continue through the week, reaching at least 16 C or 17 C.

WorkSafeBC head of prevention services Todd McDonald says as people transition into spring, the imperative for safe winter driving remains. 

"Employers should continue to involve workers in understanding the risks of winter driving and adhere to winter tire regulations, even when we start seeing warmer temperatures throughout the province,” he says. "Together, let's make winter driving safer for everyone on the road throughout the entirety of the season.” 

Road Safety at Work is sharing some basic rules to prevent crashes:

    • Know before you go. Check or your municipal website and other local reports for updated road and weather conditions. 
    • Avoid driving if possible when road and weather conditions are poor.
    • Reduce speed, look ahead, and keep at least four seconds of distance between you and the car in front of you. Give yourself lots of time and space to react.
    • Watch for and slow down when approaching pooling water. You don't know how deep puddles are, or the condition of the road beneath them.
    • Keep your windshield washer fluid topped up and carry a spare jug. Spraying from wet roads can reduce visibility.
    • Check tire pressure monthly. It can fluctuate as temperatures rise or fall, which can affect braking distance, steering and handling.

To learn more about designated winter tire routes visit this B.C. government link