Q&A - Winter Tires on RV Trailers?

Q&A ImageI have a question about the requirement for snowflake/M+S tires on recreational vehicles October 1 to March 31.

Because the highway warning sign does not specifically picture travel trailers, I previously asked the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure about what tires are required on travel trailers in winter. I was told that all tires on the travel trailer must be snowflake or M+S.

The problem is, as far as I've been informed, ST designated tires (an ST designation is required for travel trailer tires) are not made in snowflake/M+S.

So, as far as I'm aware, I'm required to have snowflake/M+S tires in winter on my travel trailer, but such tires are not made.

Can you please advise me on this situation?

The rule that requires winter tires and / or tire chains is in the Motor Vehicle Act:

Winter tires and traction devices

208 (1) For the purpose of this section, "winter tire" means a tire that meets the standards and specifications prescribed for winter tires.

(2) The minister responsible for the administration of the Transportation Act may, by public notice or by placing signs, prohibit any vehicle or a class of vehicles from being driven or operated on a highway, unless the vehicle is equipped with chains, winter tires or traction devices, or a combination of these, that the minister responsible for the administration of the Transportation Act considers adequate in view of prevailing road conditions.

(3) A public notice or sign under subsection (2) may provide differently in relation to specified dates, prevailing weather conditions or any other criteria the minister responsible for the administration of the Transportation Act considers necessary or advisable.

(4) A person who drives or operates a vehicle in contravention of a prohibition made under subsection (2) commits an offence.

Sign Examples:

Public Notice Example:

BC Government Winter Tires & Chains web page

I can only see a picture of a trailer in the commercial vehicle portion of the sign. That said, I have never in my lifetime seen a commercial trailer on a BC highway with chains installed.

From a stability and braking point of view, it is likely best when all wheels of any combination have the same traction characteristics but there is no law that says this must be so other than requiring 4 studded winter tires if studded tires are used on front wheel drive vehicles.

So, until they add an RV trailer to the left side of the sign or publish a notice saying so, I do not see where the law requires winter tires for them.

I have pulled an RV fifth wheel through a lot of BC and the U.S. I have never seen a requirement for designated winter tires in B.C. But in Oregon if you have to chain up your tow vehicle you must also have chains on one axle of the trailer as a " drag chain". I always packed chains for both and now also pack chains for my motorhome. Oregon is much more stringent on their winter regs. than B.C. On Highway 84 going south they put up with no crap from truckers regarding not wanting to put on chains. You either do or you don' t go. We need that same enforcement on the Coq.

I have yet to see ST snow tires. As more provinces switch to requiring designated snow tires they may start producing. Also agree with the moderator that trailers are not included in the regulations.

I also believe that a lot of the skidoo trailers that I see in the ditch are a result of the tires on the trailer. Prior to selling my business the tires on the 4 utility trailers I owned were equipped with LT snow tires. If you do switch to LT make sure that you are equipping with tires that meet the load weight of the trailer. If you have the ability check the weight per tire and axle. Rule of thumb replace trailer tires every three years.

I drove truck in the 60's and early 70's and we always packed triples and single chains. Most of the time the singles were put onto steering axle and trailer(s) axle. Granted roads had to be really slick before that was necessary. Once you start down a hill you are going to the bottom and the more control you have of your rig the better chance you have of making it without injuring yourself or others on the road.

If you drive through the mountain passes of B.C. I am sure you have seen at least one trailer sliding out from the path that the tractor is taking or seen a semi in the ditch because the trailer decided to pass the tractor. The tractor is chained and staying where it should, the trailer is free to swing due to lack of traction

Yesterdays news March 11, 2017 I saw where the professional drivers of the Okanagan were asking for better training of truck drivers. This was after an incident regarding passing when unsafe. I wonder though how many "Professional" truck drivers of today would ever think to chain up their steering axle so they can turn a corner or to chain their trailers so they did not slide out?

In days gone by it was done. Unfortunately the vast majority of professional drivers today are just herders and some will tell you the only requirement to be a safe drivers is to go slow. I have watched a semi creeping down a hill around 10K only to have his trailer wrap around so he was jackknifed. A safe driver is one that has his vehicle under control under all road conditions.