Shift into Winter

An initiative to keep you safe and moving during the winter season, and the work we do to make sure you are.

Do Motorcycles Need Winter Tires in BC?

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We’ve received many questions from motorcyclists wondering how winter tire regulations affect them. In a nutshell, here’s how motorcyclists should approach winter driving in BC. Motorcyclists are not required to use winter tires, as winter tires are not available for most motorcycles. Instead, motorcyclists should use common sense when deciding to drive on BC highways between October 1 and March 31. BUT: Cyclists should avoid driving in bad weather, and when Environment Canada or your weather app says bad weather is on the way. If the temperature gauge is near or below freezing, or road conditions include snow or ice, you should not be on the road. And remember, police may turn all vehicles around, including motorcycles, if they think conditions are unsafe. We know no one wants to be caught on two wheels in the middle of a snowstorm. Please use good judgement when heading out on those...

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7 Things You Need to Know BEFORE Driving the Coquihalla and High Mountain Passes

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Coquihalla, Rogers Pass, Pine Pass…are you ready? If you live on the Coast, you may not travel BC’s mountains very often. We’ve noticed a number of those living in those areas aren’t always ready to go from wet Lower Mainland winter to snowy BC Interior/ Northern winter. Sure those mountains make the perfect backdrop to all those Hollywood North movies; and of course, they’re gorgeous looking when all covered in a fresh dusting of snow. Don’t be deceived by that beauty, though. When travelling, they can change pretty dramatically when you come face to face with them. If you are planning on leaving the Lower Mainland and travelling into the mountains this winter, you need to plan ahead. To make safety a priority, you must know as much as you can about High Mountain Passes (there are more than 50 in BC, by the way) and what they mean...

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Shift into Winter: The Inside Scoop on Winter Tires and Chains

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When are winter tires or chains right for you? Good question – glad you asked. With tire/chain requirements coming into effect today (October 1) on most B.C. highways, we want to clear up any confusion so you can get your mind back on the road this winter. To help you — and by “you,” we mean passenger vehicle drivers and commercial truck drivers — navigate your winter tread and chain needs, we recently went live with a brand new Winter Tires and Chains website, which guides you through depending on the vehicle you drive and where you drive it. So, what is a winter tire? Is it one with a mountain/snowflake symbol?  How about M+S (mud and snow) tires? We recently assessed the existing definition of “winter tires and chains” as part of the highway speed and safety review. There are six things you need to know now. What’s...

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Tell TranBC

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What Do You Want to Know More About? Are you looking for something on TranBC but can’t find it? Or have a question about what the ministry does and why we do it? Share your question with us and we’ll try to get you an answer. Who knows – your question could be our next blog! Thank you – we couldn’t do this without YOU.

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A Look Behind the Scenes at Winter Maintenance in B.C.

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When the snow starts falling, the plows hit the roads. Sounds like it could almost be a country song, but it’s also the theme of our latest video, which was shot on location in the east Kootenays this winter with the help of our local maintenance contractor, Mainroad East Kootenay Contracting. We touch on a lot of topics in this one, like which streets get plowing priority, how often contractors plow (spoiler: they’re plowing 24/7, if required) and the use of salt and winter abrasive. Check it out and let us know, does this video answer any of your winter maintenance questions? Did it raise any new ones? Are there other videos like this you’d like to see about other topics? Leave us a comment below or connect with us on Twitter of Facebook and tell us what you think.

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Winter Driving Through the Eyes of… a B.C. Firefighter

Winter Driving Through the Eyes of… a B.C. Firefighter

When winter hits, firefighters have to achieve a delicate balance between speed and safety. As emergency responders, their goal is to arrive on scene as fast as possible without putting themselves or other drivers at risk. This is Part 3 of a Shift Into Winter interview series exploring how various people, representing various professions, experience winter driving in B.C. So far, we’ve talked to paramedics and a road maintenance worker, and continue with Surrey firefighter and instructor, Reo Jerome. Here are a few excerpts from our conversation: TranBC: Thanks for taking the time to talk to us, Reo. Tell us about the multiple roles you play. Reo: I coordinate emergency vehicle operations programs for the Fire and Safety Division at the Justice Institute of British Columbia. As well, I’m a Captain and relief Battalion Chief with the City of Surrey Fire Department. TranBC: What are some of the safe...

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Winter Driving Through the Eyes of… Highway Maintenance

Perhaps no group monitors winter on B.C. highways more vigilantly than the ministry’s maintenance contractors. They are on call around the clock, ready to battle the ice, slush and snow that can threaten travellers’ safety at a moment’s notice. This is Part 2 of a Shift Into Winter interview series exploring how people, representing various professions, experience winter driving in B.C. We began by talking to paramedics, and continue here with Interior Roads Equipment Supervisor Rob Schwartz. Here are a few excerpts from our conversation: TranBC: Hi Ron. Tell us about yourself. What do you do to improve winter driving? Ron: I work for Interior Roads – our head office is based in Williams Lake. And I make sure that we’ve got all our equipment in tiptop shape. TranBC: What should drivers know about driving near winter maintenance vehicles? Ron: Well, what we’ve noticed here is to make sure...

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Winter Driving Through the Eyes of… Paramedics

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If a highway incident happens, the British Columbia Ambulance Service is one of the first responders on the scene. Paramedics such as Corey Viala and Annemarie Byers have seen a lot. And, sadly, a lot of what they’ve seen, including the injuries they’ve treated, was preventable. This is Part 1 of a Shift Into Winter interview series exploring how various people, representing various professions, experience winter driving in B.C. We begin by talking to Corey and Annemarie in hopes of sharing their firsthand experiences of the dangers winter can pose for those who are unprepared. Here are a few excerpts from our conversations: TranBC: Hi Corey. Tell us a bit about yourself. Corey: I’ve been a paramedic in the B.C. Ambulance Service for over 20 years. Living in a small community , I’ve witnessed many accidents that have involved people that I know… friends, co-workers, and family members. TranBC:...

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The ABCs of Winter Highway Classification and Maintenance

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Our maintenance contractors work hard every day to keep BC highways safe and traffic moving smoothly. Because British Columbia is a geographically diverse province, our contractors can face any number of unique challenges where highway maintenance is concerned, especially in winter. In order to make sure they understand exactly what is expected of them in their day to day operations, we outline our maintenance requirements in detail. Part of that detail involves classifying provincial highways. With that in mind, here’s the lowdown on winter highway classification in B.C. and what that means to you. B.C. Highways are classified A, B, C, D & E and are maintained in that order. Winter highway classifications are based on traffic volumes and function. As are the first priority; followed by Bs and Cs… you get the idea. A great example of an “A” is the Trans-Canada Highway. Highway 18, the Cowichan Valley...

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Shift Into Winter: Hitting the Ice with the Victoria Royals

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Cold weather is here and so is the need to let people know about safe winter driving. To help raise safety awareness and encourage drivers to get ready for winter driving, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure teamed up with Mainroad Contracting, DriveWise BC and Kal-Tire at a Victoria Royals game on November 15, 2013 to engage drivers in a unique way. The Shift Into Winter campaign members will also be hosting activities at a Vancouver Giants game on January 10, 2014. Think your winter driving skills are road ready?  A crowd of fans lined up for DriveWise’s driving simulator to test their talents. Some did well…others…not so much. During breaks in the game, fans were also busy taking the winter driving safety quiz for a chance to win money toward a set of winter tires. Learning safety and prizes…not a bad combination. With BC drivers across the province...

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