As of September 22, 2015, commercial vehicles in BC may use textile tire covers (also called alternative traction devices or snow socks) as an alternative to chains during winter months.
Snow socks are fabric covers that slip over tires to provide additional traction in icy and snowy conditions. They are made from textiles with the fibres arranged at a right angle to the direction of travel and they wick away water between the tire and the road, all of which creates improved grip. Snow socks are reputed to be easier to install and remove than chains, as well as being lighter in weight.
The BC Motor Vehicle Act and Regulations now define permitted “traction devices” to include “textile tile covers:”
7.001 “Traction device” means
In the case of a commercial motor vehicle, any of the following, if designed by a manufacturer to increase the friction between a tire and a road surface covered with ice or snow:
(iv)a textile tire cover;
An amendment to the regulations also clarifies that drivers can now read regulatory signs referring to “chains” used on commercial vehicles as including “traction devices:”
7.163 A reference to chains in a public notice or sign under section 208 of the Act refers to chains or traction devices
BCTA has also confirmed directly with Commercial Vehicle Safety and Enforcement that wherever signs indicate commercial vehicles must carry chains in BC, snow socks are now an acceptable, legal alternative.
CVSE reminds operators, however, that if a vehicle becomes stuck and blocks a road, it must be removed at the owner’s expense, so operators are responsible for choosing effective traction devices for their vehicles.
For more details on the MVA/MVR amendments, click here.