Rapid changes in elevation and weather can make highway conditions in B.C. unpredictable during the winter. Most B.C. highways have high mountain passes where you are likely to encounter winter weather starting in October. You may start a trip in sunshine but face stretches of slush, ice, heavy snowfall, compact snow or avalanches along the way.
It is the responsibility of the operator of any vehicle to understand the conditions on the roads they regularly drive and equip their vehicle for those conditions to ensure their own safety and the safety of others. DriveBC is an excellent source for highway conditions and weather forecasts.
Winter Tires & Chains
Sections of highways requiring winter tires or chains onboard are marked with roadside signs. Should you go beyond the signs without the proper equipment you may be turned around by RCMP, CVSE or another policing agency and be subject to a fine. Drivers must obey winter tire and chain signs throughout the province from October 1 to April 30. For select highways not located through mountain passes and/or high snowfall areas, tire and chain requirements end March 31.
- Learn more about winter tire and chain requirements in B.C.
Winter Driving Tips
The best way to stay safe under extreme conditions is to avoid driving until the weather improves. If you do drive, make sure your vehicle is winter ready, always carry an emergency kit and have clothing available that is appropriate for the weather.
- Shift into Winter is a comprehensive guide to winter driving in B.C.
- Travelling in an Avalanche Area
It is difficult to see other vehicles during dark, wintry days.
- Daytime running lights are dimmer than headlights.
- Tail lights do not turn on with your daytime running lights.
- Make sure to turn your vehicle lights all the way on - headlights and tail lights.
- Tail lights are an important part of being seen from behind, especially in winter when days are shorter and rain, fog and grey days are common.
- The visual cue of the interior dash lights does not always mean your headlights and tail lights are on.