November 10, 2011
Although winter tires are not mandatory in B.C., ICBC recommends their use in winter conditions particularly if you live in an area where you would normally expect a lot of snow. In snowy conditions, driving without proper winter tires may not be the wisest or safest decision, but it does not affect a customer’s insurance coverage or eligibility to make a claim.
Drivers are always responsible for ensuring their vehicles are properly equipped for road conditions, just like making sure your wipers and headlamps are working well on dark and rainy nights. Driving without winter tires will not void your insurance in the event of a claim or mean that you are automatically at-fault for a crash. However, if you get in a crash where winter tires could have helped it may be a deciding factor in determining whether or how much you are at-fault.
Keep in mind that the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure can also designate that winter tires are required on certain roads and highways. This typically happens during the fall and winter months in northern B.C. and the Southern Interior. If you are driving on these roads without winter tires, police can ticket you and make you turn back.
Winter tires are particularly recommended in areas of B.C. that experience substantial snowfall because they deliver better snow and ice performance. The tread designs on winter tires provide much better traction for driving in winter road conditions. Please visit icbc.com for more information and tips on buying winter tires and driving in poor conditions.
Winter tires alone are not enough – drivers need to make smart driving decisions and adjust their driving to the road conditions. In winter weather, drivers should allow more time for travelling and most importantly, slow down and keep your distance from other vehicles so you can see more of the road and give yourself more time to react in case of the unexpected.
For customer enquiries on winter tires and insurance, please call 604-661-2800 (Lower Mainland) or 1-800-663-3051 (elsewhere in B.C.) between 8 am and 7pm Monday to Friday or 9am to 5pm Saturday.