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'We just didn't feel safe': B.C. should change rules for snow tires, band says after crash
VANCOUVER -- When Vancouver-based band Colour Tongues headed out for a nine-day tour through B.C. and Alberta, they said they put their trust into the car rental company.
"We had an assumption that we would be renting a van that would meet a safety standard about where we were going," said David Taylor, the band's manager and drummer.
At the start of the band's tour on Feb. 6, there was a snowstorm in Kelowna and another vehicle collided with the rental van head-on.
Luckily, no one was seriously hurt and the rental company, Hertz, was able to find the band another van.
But as soon as they hit the road again, they noticed the new vehicle was skidding.
When they started driving on Westside Road in West Kelowna, a notorious stretch that's previously been called the province's worst road, they weren't able to drive very far.
"We were on an incline, but a mild one, and found the van just couldn't get up the hill," Taylor said. "We just didn’t feel safe, and we just didn’t feel safe getting down the hill, so yeah, it was terrifying."
A passerby helped them and he pointed out that the van had mud and snow tires.
Taylor said they thought the vehicle was equipped with sturdier winter tires.
"Had we been warned, 'You might want winter tires in this situation,' we would’ve gotten winter tires," he said. "We left Hertz thinking that we had the minimum legal requirement, but what would keep us safe on the road."
He believes there's a discrepancy between what's legal and what's safe, and believes the laws should change.
B.C. Minister of Transportation Claire Trevena said tires with the mud-and-snow and mountain snowflake symbols are both considered winter tires.
Trevena said it's the responsibility of the consumer to decide which one would work best for their situation.
"The person who's renting the vehicle should be able to look at the tires and make sure that they get the tires that they feel are adequate," she said. "We say, as a government, that it's got to be M+S or mountain snowflake; we don’t say categorically which it should be."
Taylor said even if they knew this information in advance, there would be no guarantee that they could get the proper tires.
He was told customers can only request the mountain snowflake tires when they arrive to pick-up the vehicle.
"It's only based on availability," he said. "As it happened, when we finally got the snow tires, those were the last ones."
Requests for comment to Hertz have not been returned. This story will be updated if a response is received.