Snow Tires are Essential

Snow Tires are Essential

Did you know that beginning October 1 each year winter tires are required on many highways throughout the province? This is a law set out in the Motor Vehicle Act under Section 208.


Signs are posted on each of the designated highways to advise motorists where winter tires are required. These are generally located approaching high mountain passes and interior highways where conditions can change from rain to snow very quickly.

Winter tires have been defined as those labeled with either the winter mountain-snowflake symbol or the mud and snow (M+S) designation. Winter tires must also be in good condition with a minimum tread depth of 3.5 mm. Tires with the winter mountain/snowflake symbol provide the best level of traction and safety in severe snow and ice conditions. Rubber tends to harden in cold weather thus reducing friction and stopping capability of the vehicle. The new generation winter tires maintain their elasticity and gripping power at lower temperatures (-35° C and below), whereas all season tires tend to stiffen and lose gripping power around 0° C. The improved gripping power at lower temperatures translates to shorter stopping distances and better vehicle steering and control. That could be the difference between a safe stop and a fender bender or worse.

Although failing to have the appropriate winter tires will not void your insurance if you have a claim, it will mean that if you get into a crash and winter tires could have helped avoid or minimize the damage you may be found at fault or partially at fault. Accordingly, this affects the amount of your claim and your insurance rates. Further, you risk a fine if you do not have the mandatory tires on your vehicle.


In addition to winter tires, here are some tips for safe winter driving from the RCMP:

  • Get your vehicle ready for winter in the fall.
  • Don’t drive under the influence.
  • Pack an emergency kit.
  • Learn and practice winter driving techniques before you need them.
  • Always drive to road conditions.
  • Plan your trip and tell your friends & family. Check road and weather conditions.
  • Remove all snow from your vehicle before each trip.
  • Give yourself extra travel time in bad weather.
  • Avoid using overdrive and cruise control on slippery roads.
  • Travel with a fully charged cell phone for emergency situations.
  • SLOW DOWN and WEAR your seat belt.


A lawyer can help you to understand the wide range of issues that arise with winter tire requirements and how they may affect your accident injury claim. If you would like advice or for more information regarding such matters please contact Chahal Priddle LLP at 250-372-3233 to set up an appointment today.