Safe winter travel tips

Be prepared before you leave for trips on wintry roads

  • Dec. 29, 2016 5:00 a.m.

As travellers prepare for their yuletide season road trips, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure reminds motorists to ensure their vehicles are “winter ready” with proper tires and that they check DriveBC and weather conditions before heading out on the roads and highways.

“Winter weather has already arrived in many parts of the province, and that’s why it’s so important to be prepared before leaving on your holiday road trips,” says Transportation Minister Todd Stone. “Before you go, make sure your vehicle has the proper winter tires regardless of where you live. For those travelling over mountain passes, you must have Mountain Snowflake, or the Mud and Snow (M+S) tires and they have to be in good condition with a minimum 3.5 millimetres tread depth.”

For those planning to travel along Highways 1, 5 and 99, there are 47 variable speed signs to help drivers adapt their speed to the changeable weather conditions. These signs require drivers to slow down and reduce their speed in bad weather with enforceable, updated speeds.

Overhead message signs at the entrance of each corridor inform drivers to be aware of changing weather conditions. Flashing amber lights alert drivers to speed changes so they can adjust to a lower speed up ahead.

Drivers are reminded to ensure their vehicles are equipped with winter tires if they are travelling on certain highways throughout the province.

A map showing the designated routes that require passenger vehicles to be equipped with winter tires is located at this link:

Winter tires improve driving safety by providing better traction in snow, slush and icy conditions. Drivers are also reminded to check tire air pressure frequently, as it decreases in cold weather.

Commercial vehicles that are 27,000 kilograms volume weight (GVW) and greater, such as tractor trailers, are required to carry chains on the designated routes. The ministry recommends that commercial vehicle drivers keep chains on-board at all times.

FAST bytes

Drivers failing to have vehicles equipped with proper winter tires can be fined $109.

Variable Speed Limit systems on Highways 1, 5 and 99 are enforceable by law. Those failing to drive to the updated speeds may be fined under the Motor Vehicle Act.

Preparation tips

Recent winter maintenance check.

Change to winter wiper blades.

Clear all ice and snow from windows, mirrors, hood and roof.

Make sure cell phone is fully charged but not a driving distraction.

Keep the windshield washer reservoir full.

Keep a winter survival kit in the car.

Make sure the gas tank is full.

Learn more

For tips on how to prepare your vehicle for winter, go to

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