Anyone planning to drive on snow-covered hills in Chilliwack will need “winter rated” tires for the first time.
Council approved first, second and third reading of changes to the Highway and Traffic Bylaw on Aug. 20, which will require motorists to equip their vehicles with proper winter tires “if and when” they are travelling on hillside roads during a snow or ice event.
That means tires must have the “M+S” marking visible, or the mountain/snowflake symbol on them, or drivers could face a fine if their vehicle is stranded and causes an obstruction.
Digital message boards will be stationed by the roads during a winter weather event, as a visual reminder to motorists that snow tires are now mandatory.
“Once the storm is over and roads have been inspected and deemed safe for vehicles with non-winter rated tires, the message boards will be turned off and the requirement will cease to be in effect until the next storm event,” according to the staff report by Operations director Glen MacPherson.
The problem to date is people driving around without proper tires getting stuck in the snow and abandoning their vehicles. They can block the way for plows, sanders, or emergency response vehicles trying to pass.
“During a winter storm snow and ice control equipment often has to navigate around stranded or abandoned vehicles along roads in hillside areas,” according to the report.
The most common reported cause of getting stuck is not being equipped with the right tires.
Winter tires are not mandatory everywhere in B.C., but provincial officials can designate them as required by posting signs on certain highways and mountain pass roads, such as up north and in the Interior, as well as on the Sea-to-Sky Highway, the Malahat as well as on highways 4, 14, and 28.