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Cops clarify the definition of snow tire

Tuesday, December 15th, 2009 | 9:04 am

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RCMP Staff Sgt. Allan Dengis confirmed that some all-season radials qualify as winter tires. (Photo Joe Fries)

RCMP Staff Sgt. Allan Dengis confirmed that some all-season radials qualify as winter tires. (Photo Joe Fries)

By Joe Fries

Nothing seems to cause confusion among the motoring public like the requirement for winter tires on certain designated routes in B.C.

Staff Sgt. Allan Dengis, the head of the RCMP’s Central Okanagan Traffic Service, went before the media again on Monday to help clarify the issue.

He noted this time that certain all-season tires, which are rated for mud and snow, also qualify as winter tires.

Previously, he said that winter tires must bear a snowflake symbol to comply with legislation requiring winter tiresĀ  on some highways between Oct. 1 and April 30. The all-seasons he spoke of will have “M+S” stamped on their sidewalls.

However, while legal to use, the all-seasons rank on the “lower extent” of the safety ladder. Dedicated winter tires, Dengis said, are made of a special rubber compound that does not freeze, and also feature a tread design that helps clear snow and water from between the rubber and the road.

“It may be confusing, and that’s why we’re here putting out the message to say the all-season mud-and-snow tire is also suitable and falls into the realm of being a winter tire within the province of B.C.”

The other option on the specially-designated routes is to carry tire chains and use them when required. Failure to have the right tires or chains can result in a fine.

Around Kelowna, Highway 33 past Rutland and the Coquihalla Connector are both designated routes. However, the province does not keep a list of all designated routes in B.C.

Dengis said so far this year, ill-equipped vehicles have not been the primary cause of accidents. “People are travelling too fast for the road conditions that they’re encountering at the time.”

The staff sergeant said his officers have yet to write a ticket to a motorist not running winter tires, but they have turned back several people on the Coquihalla who were not properly equipped.

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One Response to “Cops clarify the definition of snow tire”

  1. Mel Billings says:
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    I wonder how many people who had adequate M & S tires went the extra step to purchase “winter” tires when it really wasn’t necessary. The authorities, in fairness to us all, could have gone the extra step to do their research prior to the winter season tire announcement. I was about to spend over $1,200.00 on winter tires for my 4 X 4 truck until I read your article and found out that my “no problem” M & S tires are perfectly legal. I have driven for many years, year-round, on M & S tires, without any issues.

    Joe Fries, thank you for this article. While I might agree that winter tires are essential for 2 wheel drive vehicles, M & S tires in decent condition are fine for 4 X 4,s. We must all, however, keep in mind that whatever tires one might have, driving at a safe speed for the conditions is crucial.

    Please continue discussion on the forum: link

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