"If involved in a collision and [you are] deemed to be more than 25 per cent at fault, it will impact your insurance premiums," ICBC spokesman Mark Jan Vrem said, "so the wisest course of action is to ensure your vehicle is equipped with the proper tires.
"Police can also ticket [drivers] for having improper tires or not using chains," Jan Vrem added.
The snow Thursday and today was expected to fall mainly at higher elevations, but on Saturday there is a chance of flurries across the whole Metro region. Whatever falls is likely to stay on the ground: The forecast called for three cold, sunny days starting Sunday, and then more snow on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, an Angus Reid poll done for Canadian Tire -- 'tis the season to be jolly for tire stores -- suggests many of us are not ready for winter.
While 48 per cent of B.C. drivers said they were fully prepared to face the snow and ice, only 26 per cent had installed winter tires by early November, the poll found. Some 46 per cent of drivers admitted they were not planning to install winter tires at all.
Those who still had to mount winter tires were clogging the installation bays of tire stores throughout Metro Vancouver on Wednesday.
"It's really busy now," said Nason Higinbotham, manager of OK Tire at 1516 West Third Ave. in Vancouver.
"If people are buying tires we can fit them in, but if someone just wants to change tires the chances are we won't be able to do them until Friday," Higinbotham said.
"During the past month, we did reminder calls to all our customers telling them to get their tires changed. About 50 per cent came in right away. The other 50 per cent are driving around with tires in their trunk looking for someone to mount them."
As for the availability of winter tires, Higinbotham said there was a good supply of popular sizes, but motorists driving specialty vehicles such as Land Rovers or large BMWs might have to wait until they are ordered in.
For safety and liability reasons, OK Tires, and other large tire retailers, will install only a complete set of four winter tires, not just two, he said.
"Transport Canada, ICBC recommends four winter tires. Some customers want just two, but we won't install less than four because if someone has an accident and it's shown it was because they only had two winter tires, we could be held liable.
"It's a big misconception that you only need winter tires to get you going," he added. "The reason you need winter tires is to stop the vehicle in winter conditions. It's a matter of safety."
Jan Vrem said drivers are responsible for ensuring their vehicles are properly equipped for road and driving conditions, but failing to do so probably won't void their insurance.
"Driving without winter tires will not void your insurance in the event of a claim," he said. "Driving without proper winter tires may not be the wisest or safest decision, but it does not affect a customer's eligibility to make a claim and it does not void the driver's insurance."
The Canadian Tire poll found B.C. drivers have some innovative ways of coping with winter.
About 18 per cent of respondents admitted using cat litter to gain traction on ice, while 25 per cent use a credit card to scrap ice off windshields, and 38 per cent load their trunks with sandbags to prevent fishtailing.
Fifty per cent admit to throwing snow on the windshield to clean it off, while five per cent cover their windshields with a blanket when they park outside so they won't have to use a snow brush later.
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