Winter tires or chains are required on most highway routes in BC from Oct. 1 to April 30. (Black Press Media File Photo)

Winter tires or chains are required on most highway routes in BC from Oct. 1 to April 30. (Black Press Media File Photo)

How to stay safe on the roads this winter in the Okanagan

Winter is coming…

With winter weather just around the corner in the Okanagan, now is the time to make sure your vehicle is in tip-top shape.

If you haven’t done so already, get those winter tires on. Winter tires or chains are required on most highway routes in BC from Oct. 1 to April 30.

Winter tires or chains are required on all Southern Interior highways beginning Oct. 1.(Government of British Columbia)

The most important thing to look for in a set of winter tires is the snowflake symbol, explained Kal Tire Penticton assistant manager, Steve Stevenson. Tires marked M+S or MS are not sufficient for winter use.

It’s also imperative that drivers use four winter tires, not two. Stevenson said he’s seen this mistake made often and it can be costly.

READ MORE: Snow in high terrain here to stay in Okanagan

Proper snow tires are important, however, they aren’t the only precaution drivers should take to prepare for winter.

You should also get a check-up of your battery, lights, brakes and windshield wipers prior to winter.

Experience in sub-par conditions — something that many local drivers seem to lack — is the best way to prevent accidents in the winter, said Stevenson.

If you are inexperienced driving in winter conditions, Stevenson recommends heading out for some lessons with someone who has ample driving experience in inclement weather.

“If you have experience, you’re less likely to panic or do something stupid when a situation arises due to weather,” said Stevenson.

Even experienced drivers can often need a refresher on how to drive in winter conditions. When the road conditions become less than perfect remember to slow down, keep your gas tank at least half full, and always remove all snow from your vehicle before going anywhere.

It is also recommended to stay on main roads, match your speed to the conditions, and avoid passing other vehicles when conditions are bad.

Stevenson also said it is also good to have a winter survival kit, which you can keep in your trunk.

A good survival kit would include things like a first aid kit, flashlight, good batteries, extra windshield washer fluid, sand, a snow shovel, a blanket, water, emergency food and a change of clothes.

READ MORE: Apex Mountain Resort receives first snowfall of season



jesse.day@pentictonwesternnews.com

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