It could be safer on B.C. roads this winter. New research has found drivers in the province seem to have gotten the message and are switching over to snow tires.

A survey by the Tire and Rubber Association of Canada shows 60 per cent of B.C. drivers now ride on winter tires. That’s a 22 per cent increase in the last three years.

Tracey Stehle is among those drivers.

"There's no way I would be able to get out of my underground parkade without winter tires," she explained.

Snow tires will have a snowflake symbol on them with a three-peak mountain. Although they cost a bit more than other tires, tests demonstrate they’re much better at stopping and taking corners.

“The tire will actually start working better as the temperature gets colder,” said Kyle Lewarne with Kal Tire. “[The tires] could ultimately save your life or somebody else’s.”

Winter rated snow tires work best at temperatures below 7 degrees Celsius.

In B.C. it is legal to drive on winter roads on all season tires. Those are the tires with the M + S symbol on them, for mud and snow.

“But if you were somebody that was making a lot of travelling, doing a lot of dedicated winter driving, the recommendation would be is to go into a pure winter," said Lewarne.

And there’s no time like the present to switch over to winter tires. Most people wait until the snow flies to do it, and then they can’t get an appointment booked.

If you already have your winter tires how do you know they will still hold up?

You can try the toonie test. The tread on a new tire comes up to the bear's claws and if it’s not new, it should at least cover part of the word “dollars” to be legal.

If you're renting a vehicle, book ahead and ask for snow tires. You'll pay a bit more, but it could be worth it.

There's been a strong lobby by the tire industry to make it law for all cars to have snow tires during the winter months, like Quebec. But so far there has been a lot of resistance, probably because a large part of the population live in the Lower Mainland and don't have to deal with snow as much as those in the Interior and they don't want to pay more. However, if you are heading up to the mountains you're better off to have them.