Generally, winter tires are not mandatory in this Province, but that does not mean that they should be viewed by drivers as optional. It is easy to understand one’s reluctance to buy a second set of tires given their price, and one can think of many reasons to justify such a decision. However, the decision to refrain from buying winter tires may be costly in the long-run.
Those travelling certain routes with signs indicating that winter tires must be used or chains must be carried between prescribed dates risk being ticketed by police or other enforcement agencies and being prohibited from continuing on to their destination. Even if one never leaves the city in the winter, that does not mean all-season or summer tires would suffice, as Kelowna receives its fair share of winter conditions.
As lawyers, we often see files involving accidents that have taken place in winter driving conditions that may have been preventable if a party and/or parties would have used winter tires. A driver’s failure to use winter tires is a factor that may be considered when liability for an accident is determined or when the police consider whether the issuance of a ticket is warranted.
This means that if you are in an accident, you might be found wholly or partially at fault, even if someone else is clearly responsible. This may affect your insurance premiums with ICBC and limit the amount that you might otherwise be entitled to if a bodily injury claim is made. As you consider pulling out your winter jacket, take time to consider what else should be done to prepare for cooler temperatures.
The information provided above is for educational purposes only. This information is not intended to replace the advice of a lawyer or address specific situations. Your personal situation should be discussed with a lawyer. If you have any questions or concerns, contact a legal professional.