FORT ST. JOHN -- With winter fast approaching, the B.C. government is reminding drivers that their vehicles need to be equipped with winter tires for highway driving.

According to the province requirements, all vehicles must have snow tires to drive on highways from October 1st to March 31st. It’s recommended that drivers plan ahead and change their tires as soon as possible.

A legal winter tire on a standard passenger vehicle or a four-wheel/all-wheel vehicle must have at least 3.5 mm of tread depth.

A winter tire must be labelled with either the letters "M" and "S", the minimum legal requirement (mud + snow/all-season tires) or the three-peaked mountain/snowflake symbol. The three-peaked mountain/snowflake tires (which include all-weather tires) offer better traction on snow and ice.

Summer tires are not permitted for driving during designated winter months. Chains on summer tires are not an acceptable substitute for legal winter tires on signed B.C. highways.

Routes that require winter tires are marked with regulatory signs posted on highways throughout the province. These signs are enforced by the police, ministry or other enforcement officials. Motorists who are not compliant may be turned away and fined.

The public is also reminded to obey all posted speed limits. Driving too fast in road conditions is one of the leading causes of accidents.